- Collective behaviour of a large number of individuals in a given situation is governed by yet-undiscovered laws that can be mathematically stated and empirically verified. From this, it follows that such laws also determine conflicts within and between human groups.
- While we do not understand what the exact laws governing collective human behaviour are–and how observed political, social, and economic behaviour follow from them–existing research across a range of mathematical, computational, and natural sciences provides us with concepts, methods, and tools that help us determine the contours of those laws, and understand subnational, national, and transnational security challenges in novel ways.
- Judicious combinations of said concepts, methods, and tools obtained through a mix of human expertise and computational logic and applied to open-source structured and unstructured data can be used to produce analyses relevant to a wide range of consumers, including governmental and non-governmental organizations and businesses.
STEM for Security
- the mathematics of stochastic processes, nonlinear dynamical systems, and networks,
- the physics of phase transitions, critical phenomena and statistical mechanics,
- mathematical and computational models in evolutionary biology and ecology,
- evolutionary game theory, behavioural and complexity economics,
- inexpensive yet powerful computing resources (including cloud-based),
- open-source programming environments and platforms,
- and structured and unstructured data
to provide custom-made and subscription-based solutions.
We are invested in the strategic and the deep, and not the tactical and the shallow. Our work is not tethered to the noise of the news cycle or the latest geopolitical fad. Like our target consumers, we are in this for the long haul and to understand the long-game play.
The Tarqeq Proposition
- If the talk of prediction talks, explanation walks, runs, and even occasionally somersaults. We are not a predictive analytics firm even though our toolkit includes variants of artificial intelligence methods as well as (an under-development and crucial) machine-learning layer that aids our in-house analysts. Leading proponents of what has come to be known as computational social science agree that pure machine-learning/Big-Data approaches to social and political behaviour often fail to answer the “why” question.
- The future resembles the past till it does not, as new shocks shatter our core assumptions. We empathize with people enough not to treat them as perfectly rational automatons. We do not mechanically deploy what has come to be “core” quantitative methods in social science: statistical modelling, and formal mathematical tools such as classical game theory. When we do use these methods, we do so after weighing their value against their limitations.
- Science and technology supplement human judgement; they can not replace finely honed expertise and experience. While much of our work is driven by complexity science, we also develop and deploy models based on other approaches. We supplement mathematical and computational modelling with more traditional methods such as table-top simulation exercises and scenario planning when necessary.
- Pure research is great fun, but we do not expect our consumers to pay for it. As ultimately fundamental as that quest may be, we do not research general laws underlying human behaviour and conflict. Instead, we focus on specific cases and questions that serve the asks and needs of our consumers.
We refer you to our White Paper “Reimagining Conflict: Science and the Future of Conflict” for further details about how we leverage scientific concepts, methods, and tools to arrive at specific security solutions.
While we use specially-curated data sets for some of our products, we are careful to only use data that is publicly available and/or provided to us by our consumers who are legally authorized to possess it. At a more basic level, we do not use source-based interviews for data collection or “insider insights” since that unfortunately all-too-common method comes in the way of verifiability and replicability of our work.
Unlike many other players in our space, we do not traffic in secrets and gossip.
Potential Use Cases
The deep links between narcotics trafficking, insurgencies, and terrorism globally are evident, which makes an ostensible organized-crime problem acquire strategic significance. It is also a fact that narcotics-related organized crime often tends to concentrate in geographies where there are other, legal, commercial interests in natural commodities at work. Narcotics networks are easily amenable to analysis using quantitative network-analysis tools. Key network measures can be used for comparative study of trafficking networks and design of potent offensive countermeasures. The spatial evolution of narcotics-trafficking groups can be studied using spatial games and agent-based models (ABM).
National law-enforcement agencies; businesses with interest in affected geographies.
Future of Urban Conflict
A persistent theme of discussion in security and defence circles globally is the possibility of large-scale urban conflict, especially in connected, coastal cities. Climate change and rapid urbanization are widely believed to increase the probability of such conflicts. One way in which we provide solutions to stakeholders interested in this interrelated set of issues is the following: Take a specific city and look at existing resource depletion and socio-economic trends quantitatively. From that, we can extrapolate to a set of possible alternative futures after fixing a time horizon of interest. Once we have decided on the set of futures–possibly through stakeholder consultations and other traditional analytical methods–we can examine how each of them will play out using ABM simulations.
Real-estate developers; large manufacturing firms; subnational and national governments; civic organizations.
Insurgencies and Civil Violence
When it comes to insurgencies, resource distribution conflicts, and civil unrest in general in South Asia, population heterogeneity continues to be a driving factor. This is where ABM plays a vital role since handling heterogenous agents is a key strength of that approach. Specifically, ABM and spatial games techniques can be used to understand the extent to which insurgents and gangsters could coalesce, tipping points of insurgent groups and criminal gangs, as well as evolution of small local bands of malign actors into coherent groups capable of large-scale business and governance disruptions.
Government security agencies; multinational organizations interested in peacebuilding efforts.
Services and Products
Tarqeq offers consumers
- bespoke reports, virtual and in-person briefings,
- regular monthly briefs and quarterly reports,
- and training services
around subnational, national, and transnational security issues. We also occasionally publish white papers on topical issues at the intersection of science & tech and security as a public service.
By virtue of our past professional experience, research, and academic training, Tarqeq is uniquely placed to leverage new intellectual technologies drawn from diverse scientific disciplines to serve the needs of a range of consumers of security analyses. Our background also allows us to train a new generation of quantitatively-adept intelligence and security analysts.
NAME AND IMAGES
“Tarqeq” is the Inuit word for the moon spirit which is believed to maintain watch over humans and their behaviour. It is also one of Saturn’s irregular moons, discovered in 2007.
Unless otherwise credited, images in this website were generated using DALL·E 2 through context-specific textual and/or visual inputs. To us, DALL·E 2 offers a fine example of what can be achieved when humans and machines work together.
Tarqeq Research LLP provides bespoke research-based solutions and training to help meet a wide range of global security challenges of concern to businesses, national and subnational governments using cutting-edge methods steeped in contemporary scientific traditions.