Dublin start-up chosen to work on global peace initiative

DataChemist says project is a ‘timely demonstration’ of how big data can be harnessed

A Dublin-based start-up has been selected to provide technology for a project that is seeking to map global peace and provide evidence-based insight into how it might be cultivated in the future.

DataChemist was chosen by the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) and the University of Oxford to work on the Historical Peace Index, which uses historical data gathered through the Seshat: Global History Databank.

The project analyses historical data relating to social structures, politics and economics, allowing researchers to track the long-term evolution of the peace, and to identify which combinations of factors encourage it.

DataChemist chief executive Kevin Feeney said the project was “a timely demonstration of how much good big data can deliver in the right hands”.


“Our platform is used in verticals from retail to finance – but may never be used in a more valuable project than this,” he said.

IEP founder Steve Killelea said the partnership would help to cultivate global peace.

“Peace is at the heart of the world’s future sustainability, because without a world that is basically peaceful we will never have the levels of trust, co-operation or inclusiveness necessary to solve humanity’s global sustainability challenges,” he said.

Seshat co-founder Prof Harvey Whitehouse said: “Many have appealed to historical examples to support their views on current public policy but this has usually meant cherry-picking while ignoring counter-examples.

“The Historical Peace Index will allow us to identify the precursors to peace worldwide over thousands of years and so provide a more objective way of learning from the past to plan better for the future.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter