Spotting Violence from Space: The Detection of Housing Destruction in Syria

Assistant professor
University of Barcelona
International Institute of Social Studies
Start date

Tuesday, 5 Nov 2019, 16:15

End date

Tuesday, 5 Nov 2019, 17:30

Room 3.14
International Institute of Social Studies
Spoken Language
Dr André Gröger

On 5 November 2019, André Gröger will present his project into physical destruction of buildings as a correlate of violence

Generating reliable and high-frequency measures of state and extra-state violence remains a challenge for researchers, international organizations and NGOs.

Leading methodologies rely on on-the-ground reporting, which raises the concern that measures of violence are biased, geographically imprecise and temporally lag real-time indicators. This project proposes an automated method of measuring an important correlate of violence - physical destruction of buildings - using machine learning applied to satellite imagery.

With his colleagues, Jonathan Hersh, Andrea Matranga, Hannes Mueller and Joan Serrat he has built and trained a deep learning computer vision architecture. During his lecture he will discuss the characteristics of the problem, taking seriously the temporal and geographic domain transfer issues inherent in this problem. He will present the performance of the method in the context of housing destruction in Aleppo during the ongoing civil war.

About the speaker

Assistant Professor and Juan de la Cierva Fellow at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Affiliated Professor at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (BGSE), and Fellow at the Research Institute in Markets, Organizations and Votes in Economics (MOVE).

His research interests are in Applied Microeconomics, Data Science, Development, Labor and Political Economy.

More information

The Development Research Seminars present cutting-edge research on development studies by noted scholars from around the world. The Series aims to stimulate critical discussion about contemporary development issues.