Over the last two years, Ian Stewart, director of Project Alpha, has been developing a ‘big data’ platform for non-proliferation purposes. This platform is used to inform Project Alpha’s work and acts as a test bed for big data and machine learning approaches in the non-proliferation sphere. Today, Project Alpha is publishing a paper on Alpha-POST’s design and capabilities to provide background on the platform.
The abstract of this paper, which can be downloaded HERE, reads as follows.
This paper outlines the Alpha-Proliferation Open Source Platform (Alpha-POST), developed by Project Alpha to leverage big data analysis for non-proliferation purposes. The article demonstrates how a variety of open source software tools can be fused together into a ‘software stack’ capable of ingesting, processing and leveraging vast quantities of data to aid human analysts. While Alpha-POST leverages tools such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), link chart analysis and machine learning in the non-proliferation domain, Project Alpha argues that the approaches outlined in this paper could be applied to any discipline or sphere .
A forthcoming article in the Journal of Nuclear Material Management will examine how the big data approaches developed in this platform can be used more generally in the non-proliferation domain. Additionally, the platform will be demonstrated at the 2018 IAEA safeguards symposium.
This interactive visualisation tool was prepared by King’s College London in cooperation with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies with the aim of increasing understanding of the implementation of Resolution 1540.
The tool allows for the dynamic display of 1540 ‘matrix’ reports for each UN Member State in map format. It aims to supplement the UN Security Council’s existing 1540 Matrix toolset through an enhanced, flexible, and more user-interactive interface, with the aim of assisting the comprehensive review of 1540 implementation that will take place in summer 2016.
The tool consists includes two main datasets: the first relates to national legal provisions – legislation and regulations relevant to prohibiting proliferation – and the second to national enforcement provisions – actions to combat proliferation. These can be toggled using the first filter on the right hand side.
The tool also includes three other filters: question, description, and NBC (short for nuclear, chemical or biological). These filters can be used to display implementation of specific measures or groups of measures. The NBC filter can be used when viewing responses to certain questions – those with [NBC in their title] – to examine whether a state has implemented nuclear, chemical, and biological provisions relevant to the particular measure. You should manually change this to ‘all’ when viewing other question types.
Project Alpha and CNS aim to further refine this tool over the course of 2016. In particular, we intend to develop analytics to supplement the current visualisations. This work will focus on specific thematic issues or regional issues. A further iteration of this project might also see the tool take into account risk factors, such as whether states produce WMD-relevant materials.
Continue reading UN Security Council Resolution 1540 Online Implementation Monitoring Tool
This is a visualisation of a dataset compiled by Project Alpha on procurements suspected to be destined for Iran’s Nuclear or Missile programs. Continue reading Iranian Nuclear Procurement: Origin and Transhipment Points
This visualisation accounts for the totality of world trade in set of nuclear- and chemical-relevant commodities. Continue reading World Trade in Nuclear Related Items
The below visualization shows countries in which there has been at least one successful export control prosecution.*
*Please note that this visualisation may be incomplete. If you are aware of additional prosecutions that are not represented, please contact Project Alpha.
Below is a table displaying the approximate number of commercial producers of a selection of NSG controlled dual-use goods in countries located outside the NSG. Continue reading Commercial Producers of NSG Controlled Dual-use Goods
The following graphic shows state membership of the various key non-proliferation regimes and instruments. It also shows those states that have submitted mandatory reports to key UN Security Council sanctions committees. Continue reading Global Participation in Non-Proliferation Measures
Since 2004, all countries have been required by UN Security Council resolution 1540 to implement export controls in order to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Many countries had export controls well before this resolution was passed, using these measures to safeguard their own national security interests. Continue reading US and UK Export Licence Data Visualisation Tool
The prosecution of export control violators is an important aspect of a country’s ability to deter illicit proliferation-related trade. While many states have enacted export control legislation, this does not necessarily mean that these states have actually prosecuted those suspected of violating these laws. Of course, the effectiveness of a country’s export control system cannot be evaluated by counting the number of prosecutions secured by governments; however, the existence of an effective judicial enforcement system is a vital prerequisite to the full implementation of a state’s non-proliferation commitments.
The visualisation below shows those states that are known to have prosecuted individuals and companies for WMD-related export control violations.*
*The nature of global enforcement activity against WMD-related proliferation means that not all cases may be publicly known. Any errors should be brought to the attention of Project Alpha.