Computer analysis of human belligerency

José A.Tenreiro Machado, António M. Lopes, Maria Eugénia Mata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


War is a cause of gains and losses. Economic historians have long stressed the extreme importance of considering the economic potential of society for belligerency, the role of management of chaos to bear the costs of battle and casualties, and ingenious and improvisation methodologies for emergency management. However, global and inter-temporal studies on warring are missing. The adoption of computational tools for data processing is a key modeling option with present day resources. In this paper, hierarchical clustering techniques and multidimensional scaling are used as efficient instruments for visualizing and describing military conflicts by electing different metrics to assess their characterizing features: time, time span, number of belligerents, and number of casualties. Moreover, entropy is adopted for measuring war complexity over time. Although wars have been an important topic of analysis in all ages, they have been ignored as a subject of nonlinear dynamics and complex system analysis. This paper seeks to fill these gaps in the literature by proposing a quantitative perspective based on algorithmic strategies. We verify the growing number of events and an explosion in their characteristics. The results have similarities to those exhibited by systems with increasing volatility, or evolving toward chaotic-like behavior. We can question also whether such dynamics follow the second law of thermodynamics since the adopted techniques reflect a system expanding the entropy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1201
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Complex systems
  • Data visualization;multidimensional scaling
  • Entropy
  • Hierarchical clustering


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