Key definitions in VIEWS

Prediction outcomes
The VIEWS system currently generates two sets of predictions per type of violence and level of analysis:  continuous predictions of the number of fatalities in impending conflict, and  probabilistic dichotomous (conflict/no conflict) forecasts based on the former. 

Over the course of the Societies at Risk and ANTICIPATE projects, the VIEWS system will also be expanded with predictions for humanitarian impacts of conflict. 

Continuous predictions (2022 – )

  • Predicted number of battle-related deaths (BRDs) per country-month and type of violence, during each of the next 36 months. 
  • Predicted number of battle-related deaths (BRDs) per PRIO-GRID-month and type of violence, during each of the next 36 months. 


Dichotomous predictions (2018 – )

  • Predicted probability (0-100%) of at least 25 battle-related deaths per country-month and type of violence, during each of the next 36 months. 
  • Predicted probability (0-100%) of at least 1 battle-related death per PRIO-GRID-month and type of violence,  during each of the next 36 months. 

Types of violence
VIEWS applies a “divide and conquer’ strategy to the forecasting problem. It analyses separately three different outcomes of fatal political violence, as defined [1] and recorded by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, UCDP ():

State-based conflict (sb)

Armed conflict between two or more actors – of which at least one is the government of a  state [2] – over a contested incompatibility [3] that concerns government and/or territory.

Non-state conflict (ns) (forthcoming)

The use of  armed force between two or more organised armed groups, neither of which is the  government of a  state

One-sided violence (os) (forthcoming)

The deliberate use of  armed force by the  government of a  state, or by a formally organised group [4] against civilians. 
Notes: [1] Please note that in order for a given conflict event to be included in the final and annual UCDP-GED dataset that the ViEWS forecasts are evaluated against, the conflict dyad at hand must have resulted in at least 25 battle-related deaths over the course of the concerned calendar year. This criterion is not applied in the UCDP-Candidate data that informs the ViEWS forecasts on a monthly basis in addition to the GED data, and has therefore been excluded from the outcome definitions above. When evaluating the forecasts against GED data, it is nevertheless implicitly applied. More about the UCDP-Candidate dataset, and its differences from the GED data, can be found in the 2021 presentation article of the UCDP-Candidate dataset. For a full list of UCDP definitions, please see

[2] In line with UCDP coding procedures, the government of a state is defined as the party controlling the capital of the state, whether or not the party is the de jure holder of power.

[3] An incompatibility is by the UCDP defined as a stated challenge over the governmental power or over a specified territory.

[4] Armed groups are here defined as any non-governmental group of people that have announced a name for their group and that uses. 
Levels of analysis
The VIEWS forecasts are presented at two levels of analysis: the country-month level and sub-national PRIO-GRID-month level. 
Temporal unit: Calendar months 
Geographic scope: Africa and the Middle East

The country-month level

The country-month level uses the calendar month as the temporal unit of analysis and countries as the spatial unit. The set of countries is derived from the Gleditsch & Ward (1999) list of independent states, while their geographic extent (and country IDs) are determined by the GIS dataset CShapes v.0.6 ( Weidmann, Kuse & Gleditsch, 2010).  
About CShapes
Please note that the choice of country set and delimitations thereof was made on methodological grounds and does not reflect the views or opinions of the VIEWS team. 

The next iteration of the VIEWS model, to be released in the fall of 2022, will be based on CShapes 2.0. 

The PRIO-GRID-month level

The PRIO-GRID-month (pgm) level uses calendar months as the temporal units of analysis, and spatial units derived from PRIO-GRID 2.0 ( Tollefsen, Strand & Buhaug, 2012). The latter is a standardized spatial grid structure consisting of quadratic grid cells that jointly cover all areas of the world at a resolution of 0.5 x 0.5 decimal degrees, approximately 55×55 km around the equator.

The actor level (forthcoming)

An actor level is currently under development.
Data partitioning
In order to train and calibrate the forecasting models used in VIEWS, all available data are split into two sets of data partitions. One is used for true forecasting, and the other for evaluating historic forecasts.
The forecasting periodization is used for true/actual forecasting. The data are split into four partitions: a training, calibration, “predictor updating”, and forecasting period.
  • The training period runs from the first month of available UCDP GED data, i.e. January 1990, up until the month before the start of the calibration period. The length of the training period is increased by one year following the annual release of the UCDP GED dataset as we then re-train our models.

  • The calibration period is 48 months long. Its start and end dates shift by one year following the annual release of the UCDP GED data and our subsequent re-training of the VIEWS models. If the most recent UCDP GED release covers the year of 2021, the calibration period ends on 31 December 2021; it the last release covers the year of 2022, its runs up until 31 December 2022; and so forth. 

  • The predictor updating period runs from the month following the last month of available UCDP GED data up until and including the last month of available UCDP Candidate data. During the predictor updating period, the VIEWS system is informed by the latter as a monthly substitute for the UCDP GED data, in addition to updates from other predictors that follow a regular update schedule. The predictor updating period is thus extended by one month each time we generate and release a new set of monthly VIEWS forecasts.

  • The forecasting period is the rolling 36-month period for which we release true forecasts each month. The forecasting period starts immediately after the last month of available UCDP Candidate data, i.e. after the last month of input data informing the VIEWS models. The name of each data release in the VIEWS API reflects the last month of input data and can thus be used to deduce when the predictor updating period ends and the forecasting period starts. The fatalities001_2022_07_t01 release of VIEWS data, e.g., is informed by data up until and including July 2022, and thus contain forecasts for August 2022 – July 2025.

For the fatalities001_2022_07_t01 release of VIEWS data, the partitions looked at follows:
  • Training period: Jan 1990 – Dec 2016
  • Calibration period: Jan 2017 – Dec 2020 (still awaiting ingestion of the UCDP GED data for 2021)
  • Predictor updating period: Jan 2021 – July 2022
  • Forecasting period: August 2022 – July 2025

Please see the  VIEWS changelog to stay tuned on when the VIEWS models are re-trained, resulting in updates to the periodization above. 
The evaluation periodization is used to evaluate the VIEWS models. In this periodization, the available data are split into three partitions: a training, calibration, and testing period. The periodization as a whole runs from the first month of available UCDP GED data (January 1990) up until and including the last month of data in the most recent UCDP GED release used for the given evaluation. If the last release used covers the year of 2020, the evaluation periodization ends in December 2020; if the last release covers 2021, it runs up until and including December 2021; and so forth.  The calibration and testing periods both span 48 months each, while the training period covers the remaining time from January 1990 onwards.  The evaluation that was presented in the technical report on the fatalities001 model (our most recent evaluation of the VIEWS forecasts) relied on the following periodization.
  • Training period: Jan 1990 – Dec 2012
  • Calibration period: Jan 2013 – Dec 2016
  • Testing period: Jan 2017 – Dec 2020