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VRA's Third Decade

VRA’s research activities in text processing technology and its custom tool development are aimed at preventing violence, and when prevention fails, at mitigating its damaging effects. VRA supports its customers in operating VRA tools, and by hosting them as a service. VRA also offers analytic support and training designed to foster evidence-based decision making and localized sustainability tailored to each customer’s needs.

VRA has offered custom data development to commercial and governmental entities since its founding in 1996. In fact, VRA’s first contract was to develop a global events data set as input for a futures project conducted by an agency of the US government. VRA has also offered academic researchers with customized events, sentiment and other data sets over two decades, including a “10 Million Events” dataset distributed by Harvard University in 2005 that was generated by the VRA Reader with the IDEA framework.

A security risk analysis tool is a new addition to VRA’s suite of tools. It is called the VRA Assessor and is designed as an semi-automated tool to walk security analysts through the security risk analysis (SRA) process, beginning with the identification of threats relevant to a specific entity or program of activities and within a given context. The threats are rated in terms of the impact and likelihood of occurrence. Next, the possible mitigating treatments are identified and rated for their likely reduction on the impact and likelihood for each threat. Finally, the tool calculates the residual risk based on the analyst ratings and presents the results from the entire SRA process in an intuitive summary graphic.

VRA has also begun to implement linkages with its tools to other systems, specifically with integrated analytics and visualization systems. Similarly, VRA has begun to support interaction with VRA tools via mobile devices as part of a group forum. These forum interactions can then be processed by the Reader or Advisor engines and thus become an additional data stream available for analysis.

Since 1996 VRA has continuously refined its focus to adapt to an ever-changing technology and security environment. Beginning with its founders’ research into people power movements that began well before the global transformation of 1989-1990, VRA continues its efforts to provide timely warnings on conflict.

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