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Estimating the number of people in a crowd

15 September 2021
How many people participated in a protest? The number can be estimated using machine learning of the number of people in a crowd shown on a photo.

Previous Saturday (11.09.2021), a protest  against the Corona measures of the government took place on Dam Square. In the news, the number of protesters reported varied between 50,000 and 200,000. The police reported 20,000 participants, estimating the number of protesters by the product of the density of people times the area of the protest.

To be find a more accurate way to determine these numbers, the producer of the TV program 'Propaganda' invited mathematics professor Sandjai Bhulai to the show. He proposed to use machine learning, where a photo of the crowd is analyzed by mathematics, counting the people on the picture. Using this estimate, reporters can give more accurate numbers of protesters by only relying on a photo of the crowd.