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Raleigh's 'Predictify Me' To Predict Suicide Bombings In Pakistan

Predictify Me

The United Nations says suicide bombings in Pakistan are shockingly common, especially near schools.  A Raleigh start-up company is working to change that.

The security software company is called “Predictify Me.”

Rob Burns is the CEO of "Predictify Me."  He and co-founder Zeeshan Usmani of Pakistan have developed an algorithm they say can warn schools when an attack is imminent. 

“The idea is to give them a three to seven day window when they are at an elevated risk of attack," said Burns.

"Predictify Me" crunches more than 150 variables to develop a school’s risk score. 

"If you think of weather, if you think of time of year, you can think of even external events and political events," said Burns.  "You can look at sporting events that actually are correlated, oddly enough, with explosions."

The pilot Safe Schools Initiative will target 1,000 schools in Pakistan, later enlisting 200,000 schools.  The project is expected to expand to Lebanon and Nigeria.

Gordon Brown is the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.  He is supportive of the initiative and said during a news conference at the United Nations in New York, that it is time to end threats to children trying to get an education.

"I've talked to Prime Minister (Nawaz) Sharif, I've visited Pakistan, I've looked at what needs to be done.," said Brown.  "And clearly Pakistan is the country with the second largest number of children who are out of education."

Brown said if Nigeria has more than 10 million children "not in education," Pakistan has anywhere between 5-7 million children not getting an education. 

Burns says they wanted to use their big data to help.  He says on average, there is a bombing every six days in Pakistan.

“The fact that children are being killed at school is considered just the way things are is not an acceptable situation," said Burns.  "So it is not nearly as rare as you might think and it’s a situation we hope we can have an impact in changing.”

Burns says they hope to have completed simulation explosions and risk analysis for the first 1,000 schools in Pakistan in the next few months.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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