It’s called Predictive Heuristics. I am kind of excited about it, since Ward (and his colleagues) are among the best at separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the big data buzz.
From the inaugural post, by Andreas Beger:
[The lab's] efforts are united by two common threads: the use of advanced (social science) methods, and a focus on predictions to aid decision-making and policy. Social science data and modern computational techniques have both exploded to the point that it is now possible to use them in principled ways to gain leverage on predictive tasks. Indeed, prediction is the gold standard for understanding, not something that has to stand in contradistinction to it. Predictive heuristics is a way of combining these new data and new techniques with the goal of helping decision making and improving what many social scientists call “theory”– a term that gives certain lab directors hives.
Mike Ward has already written an interesting post comparing the ICEWS and GDELT data sets. His post refers to a nice dynamic animation of the frequency of ICEWS/GDELT’s respective reported events in Syria, Turkey, and Egypt. If you’re interested in the full article detailing the results of the comparison, it’s available here.
The lab’s main Web site is here.
You can follow them on Twitter here.