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US Navy Scientists Create Algorithm To Predict Pirate Attacks

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Pirates have begun robbing shipping vessels and committing acts of criminal violence at sea for as far back as several centuries ago. These coastal crooks have sprung from just about anywhere — from France to China to Somalia — and have raided just about any open target — from the Red Sea to the massive Asian waters to the Caribbean.

As times changed, the maritime mobsters began to disappear, but they are now on the rise again.

That is why the scientists at the U.S. Navy have come up with a new way to predict pirate attacks, while keeping up with the technologies of our time.

The U.S. Navy is taking the matter seriously and says that pirates are neither thugs of the past nor a laughing matter.

Currently, the U.S. Navy is using a system capable of analyzing wind and wave data to track locations that could best welcome pirate attacks. The team monitoring this project noted that as far as wind and wave data is concerned, the system can easily locate pirate activity, since much of pirate operation tends to take place in smaller vessels "highly vulnerable to adverse winds and seas." The basis is entirely environmental.

In the U.S. Navy's recent patent filing, No. US8838515, researchers present a new method that helps predict the risk of pirate attack at a given area through pirate behavior, environmental and meteorological intel called "pirate replicates."

The new software works in the same way as that of a prediction system that monitors predator and prey activity in nature.

Specifically, the system combines intel that provide data about pirates and pirate groups and where their bases and stations are located. It also allows the Navy to see how fast specific groups operate and what sorts of craft they use. It can analyze patterns of pirate activity — how they prey on targets on the sea.

A three-armed model, the replicate highlights how pirates leave their hideout, how they hunt down their prey and how they go back to their bases.

With its "pirate replicate" system, this new method of predicting pirate activity can actually be applied in other areas, such as warfare underwater and anti-narcotic busts, according to the patent. 

Photo: Pirátská strana | Flickr

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