Kalev Hannes Leetaru

[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • Global Watchboarding
  • Political Risk Assessment and Forecasting
  • Big Data
  • Council Member, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government
  • Former 2013-2014 Yahoo! Fellow in Residence of International Values, Communications Technology & the Global Internet, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Former Adjunct Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • 2013 Foreign Policy Magazine Top 100 Global Thinker

Kalev Hannes Leetaru founded and leads the GDELT Project (http://gdeltproject.org/), a massive realtime index over the planet as seen through the eyes of the world’s news media and academic literature, inventorying the world’s events, emotions, and narratives as they happen.  GDELT live-translates the world’s information across 65 languages and identifies the planet’s events, counts, quotes, people, organizations, locations, 4,500 emotions and themes, imagery, video, and social posts, creating a massive realtime global graph that is made available as a planetary-scale open data firehose.  The resulting data streams offer a realtime catalog of the events, emotions, narratives, and views across the world down to the city level in realtime, constructing one of the richest repositories of global culture and public opinion ever created.  The GDELT Project represents the single largest unclassified dataset over global human society, totaling more than 4,500 emotional and thematic dimensions and over 302 million records in over 300 categories dating back to 1979 and updated every 15 minutes.

One of Foreign Policy Magazine's Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013 and a Council Member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government, and a past fellow and adjunct faculty at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Kalev's work has been featured in publications from Nature to the New York Times, along with the press of more than 100 nations.  In 2011 The Economist selected his Culturomics 2.0 study as one of just five science discoveries deemed the most significant developments of 2011.

From the first in-depth study of the geography of social media, which set off the arms race to map Twitter, to the first television show live-controlled by the audience's emotional response to its characters, which set numerous records for social engagement with a television show for NBCUniversal’s Syfy channel, from the largest deployment of sentiment analysis (more than 4,500 emotions and themes applied to all accessible global news), to the first deployment of whole-of-earth realtime machine translation (live translating all accessible global news media in 65 languages), from the first realtime mapping of emotion in social media, to the creation of one of the largest historical image collections from half a billion pages of digitized books spanning 500 years and 1,000 libraries, from the first full-scale maps of the geography and emotion of television news with the Internet Archive, to the first socio-cultural analysis of the world's academic literature, spanning 50 years and more than 21 billion words, from the first at-scale studies of the Internet Archive's web collection, exploring its 1.7 billion PDFs, to the pioneering use of emotion in forecasting conflict, and the largest global monitoring platform, Kalev's work has fundamentally redefined how we think about information at scale and how we define the boundaries of the "big data" era.

Today Kalev works with organizations from the US Government to NBCUniversal, the World Bank to the US Institute of Peace, the Internet Archive to the United Nations, to a myriad government agencies, corporations, and NGOs across the globe to reimagine how we use data to understand the world around us at scales and in ways never before imagined.