Friday, October 2, 2009

Invited Technical Talks: Building a Smarter Planet

This invited talk was delivered by Josephine Cheng, a distinguished IBM fellow (a title that is awarded to men and women who have been recognized for their long term contributions and research at IBM), from the IBM Alamaden Research Center.

Josephine started the talk with an interesting set of facts. Did you know that fuel spent by Los Angeles residents trying to find a parking spot, is enough to make 38 round trips around the world?!!

An IBM nitiative in Stockholm, Sweden helped cut traffic by 20% on the busy roads. Sensors were placed on these roads and commuters traveling these roads were charged more as oppposed to using alternative roads. This reduced the congestion on the

Such initiatives prove something. They prove that the world is getting a whole lot smarter. Working smarter and harder has become the motto.

The three I's that make this planet a smarter planet:


Everything will become instrumented (ability to measure things), according to Josephine. Supply chains, health care networks, cities and even natural systems like rivers!


World is becoming more interconnected. People, systems and objects can communicate and interact with each other in many ways


Consider an alarm clock pre-tuned to the weather outside! Or predictive math models that can predict flu outbreaks. Information is exploding using math models to drive business! You get better results through this ability to predict and optimize.

Thus, a smarter planet gives you the opportunity to think and act economically, socially and technically.

There has been a lot of impetus towards green initiatives these days, that address three critical resources - water, carbon, energy. Did you know that it takes greater than 10K litres of water to make jeans? I bet you didn't know that. The benefits of going green are tremendous. Unexpected areas of cost can be curbed, our environments protected and kept clean while cutting costs and making the planet a lot more smarter.

One of the IBM initiatives has been to reduce the carbon footprint. They have come up with a web based logistics carbon management solution called SNOW (Supply Chain Network Optimization). SNOW can predict and analyze for fluctuating parameters. For instance, if you double the demand for carbon, SNOW can intelligently predict its impact on the world. One other initiative by IBM has been a smart health care system called 'Aalim' that stores all the data in a database and uses them for chemical analysis.

No wonder, the world is going to get a whole lot smaller, flatter and smarter with thriving intelligent economies and societies.

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