Using Geospatial Abduction to Locate IEDs
University of Maryland computer science Ph.D. student Paulo Shakarian and computer science Professor V.S. Subrahmanian, together with University of Torino (Italy) computer science Professor Maria-Luisa Sapino have developed a technique called geospatial abduction which finds the best explanation for observed information in space. They’ve successfully used it to predict the locations of IEDs planted by insurgents. It harkens back to the ideas in the TV show NUMB3RS:
And like many of the NUMB3RS episodes, the SCARE mathematical formula is based on abductive logic. Classical deductive reasoning tries to state what follows from a set of facts, while abduction tries to find the best explanation for a set of observations. In this case, the observations are the locations of the IED attacks, together with the ethnic make-up of neighborhoods. The best explanations correspond to the most likely locations for the weapons caches supporting these attacks.