Worldwide displacement due to war and conflict is at all-time high. UNHCR reports that in 2020 one in every 93 people is a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. As millions have become displaced in the Middle East and elsewhere, many countries were surprised by the volume of asylum seekers or refugees at, or near, their borders.

Unfortunately, determining if, when, and where people will move is a complex problem. Our interdisciplinary team looks at ways to integrate both publicly available organic data from social media and newspaper outlets, i.e. big data, with more traditional migration data to capture changing conditions in a region. As we help generate more and more big data signals and learn to customize and calibrate them for different regions of the world, we hope that they will become the foundation for an early warning system that will help UNHCR and other NGOs direct support and aid more efficiently.

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