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If the idea of a computer system predicting future crimes still seems like some futuristic sci-fi shit, you need to look at what’s going on at the University of Illinois. Kalev Leetaru, from the school’s Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science has been working on a project that uses a super computer to analyze millions of news reports from around the globe in hopes of predicting when a major wave of social unrest will take place.

Using the SGI Altix supercomputer located at the University of Tennessee, Leetru used media taken from outlets around the globe including the BBC, the New York Times, and the U.S. Government’s Open Source Center. Once entered into the SGI Altix, the stories were scanned for mood (was it a good story or a bad story?) and location (where were the stories taking place?).

For example, the SGI Altix, using its 1024 Intel Nehalem processors to output 8.2 teraflops of computing power, was able to pick up on dips in mood and sentiment in the Arab nations that experienced revolutions and riots during this past spring.

Leetaru believes the system is more accurate and better able to deliver intelligence than the U.S. Government. Currently, the model has only analyzed past events, but Leetaru sees the next step as being real-time analysis. Welcome to the future.

[via BBC]