War, Peace & the In Between Podcast

Episode 4: Data Focus: The Birthday Paradox

In this special data focus episode, we talk about the birthday paradox – a phenomenon stemming from the collision of human intuition and probability theory – and how a team of PeaceTech researchers encountered a real-world application of these ideas in a database of global peace agreements.

Imagine sitting in a large room, and watching people enter this room, one by one. How many do you think need to enter before the probability that at least two share a birthday hits 50%? With you already in the room, just 22 need to enter for this to take place. Now, imagine a set of documents that come from a variety of contexts and serve a variety of purposes. How many documents do you need to have before you start seeing documents of the exact same length? As our PA-X Peace Agreements Database research team found out, not that many.  

Featuring special guests Dr Sanja Badanjak, Chancellors Fellow in Global Challenges at Edinburgh Law School and associate of the PSRP, and John Allison, Senior Analyst Developer with the University of Edinburgh Information Services.

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Show Notes

The PA-X Peace Agreements Database is available at www.peaceagreements.org.

The PA-X Database is part of the PeaceTech initiative at the University of Edinburgh, which involves the application of current and emergent technologies to complex and challenging peacebuilding contexts.

Guest Bios

War, Peace & the In Between is hosted by Allyson Doby, Communications Officer at the Political Settlements Research Programme.

This episode’s guests are:

Dr Sanja Badanjak is Chancellors Fellow in Global Challenges at Edinburgh Law School and associate of the Political Settlements Research Programme.

John Allison is a Senior Analyst Developer with the University of Edinburgh Information Services.