Zola's Algorithm was a program written by Arnim Zola to identify targets for HYDRA by analysing people's data available online, including private data, to predict whether they currently posed a threat for the organization or would in the future. It was used in the framework of Project Insight.
HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola was recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D. in the aftermath of World War II thanks to Operation Paperclip. From there, Zola worked to undermine S.H.I.E.L.D. from within and recreate HYDRA with corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D. members. As HYDRA secretly took control of Project Insight, a global peacekeeping program relying on three Helicarriers, Zola designed an algorithm that would serve HYDRA's purpose. By analyzing large amounts of personal data, the algorithm assessed potential threats to HYDRA who could then be eliminated en masse.
HYDRA eventually decided to enact its endgame and reveal itself to the world in an attempt to take control over it, executing an attack on Nick Fury and another on Captain America. HYDRA moles assigned to Project Insight hijacked the Insight Helicarriers, which were launched in the air. Once they reached working altitude, Zola's algorithm was deployed under orders of Captain Russo and identified thousands of targets to be eliminated, including Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Maria Hill, Stephen Strange, Bruce Banner and President Matthew Ellis.
However, HYDRA's plans were thwarted by the combined efforts of Captain America, Maria Hill and Sam Wilson, which resulted in the destruction of the Helicarriers and, possibly, the destruction of Zola's algorithm.
Zola's Algorithm was able to review large amounts of personal information and to process it in a very short time in order to assess whether an individual was a potential threat to HYDRA. The algorithm analyzed data from various subjects: financial records, medical histories, voting patterns, phone conversations as well as all electronic messages.
When first activated during the Battle at the Triskelion, Zola's Algorithm identified thousands of targets, including the following: