Tuesday, 15 January 2008

TNDM: A predictive model for warfare

The Dupuy Institute's Tactical Numerical Deterministic Model (TNDM) (Economist. Technology Quarterly; 17 Sept 05) is a forecasting system with an excellent track record in forecasting the durations and casualties in armed conflicts. The Institute has a database of raw information on which its analysts perform extensive statistical analysis to identify patterns and trends. TNDM is available commercially (for $93,000 in 2005) and has been bought by both governments and arms suppliers. The Swedish government uses TNDM to propose new kinds of weapons.

The model includes many factors some technical, eg types and characteristics of weapons and armour, some geographical, eg presence of rivers, some tactical, eg disposition of troops, some logistical and even the matter of morale.

TNDM is generally more accurate than other 'war forecasting' systems because:

  • It's based on real data
  • It's model is based rigorous analysis rather than the wishful thinking of arms manufacturers and military organisations.
  • It's model has been repeatedly tested against actual experience.
The success of TNDM is significant because it deals with human behaviour (which is sometimes claimed to be wholly unpredictable) and because it shows the success of empirical, 'scientific' method in an area remote from the physical sciences.

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