Professors Thomas Gillespie and John Agnew of the University of California at Los Angeles use satellite-imagery analysis and elaborate geographic methods to theorize that bin Laden is in the city of Parachinar in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan.
Parachinar is about 12 miles from Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The professors believe bin Laden might be in one of three walled compounds in the city.
The elusive al Qaeda leader has been hiding out since the September 11 attacks, occasionally surfacing in taunting video recordings released by his supporters. He has resisted all efforts to find him, even with a $25 million U.S. reward posted for information about his whereabouts.
"We believe that our work involves the first scientific approach to establishing his current location. The methods are repeatable and can be updated with new information obtained from the U.S. intelligence community," the professors wrote in the MIT International Review.
Gillespie and Agnew used bin Laden's last reported whereabouts, the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, and employed "theories that predict how plants and animals distribute themselves over space and over time."
They deduced that Parachinar fits as a likely refuge. It is a place where the al Qaeda leader could have electricity, physical protection, personal privacy and a small number of body guards, while remaining protected from aerial view.