Why It Took So Long To Update the U.N.-Sponsored Syria Death Count

538-logoIn this story, Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight interviews HRDAG executive director Patrick Ball about the process of de-duplication, integration of databases, and machine-learning in the recent enumeration of reported casualties in Syria.

New reports of old deaths come in all the time, Ball said, making it tough to maintain a database. The duplicate-removal process means “it’s a lot like redoing the whole project each time,” he said.

Carl Bialik
August 23, 2014
Link to story on FiveThirtyEight

Related blogpost (Updated Casualty Count for Syria)

Back to Press Room


Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.