Behind an Icon: A Stream and a Bay
Chris Luongo 060000C6S6 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  ibm icons_of_progress galway_bay analytics centennial stream-computing
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IBM is celebrating its Centennial year with 100 Icons of Progress – ideas, inventions and events that have transformed a century. And behind several of the Icons is clever IBM software that helps make everything work.
Ireland’s Galway Bay is a fragile ecosystem of many interconnected parts. And its health and sustainability are dependent on understanding an abundance of marine data that, until recently, could only be collected and analyzed by going out to sea.
Hazards like pollution spills cause damage more quickly in confined waters like Galway Bay than in the open sea; therefore, scientists and environmental agencies need to access and decipher information about the bay quickly and react to any signs of distress without delay.
The solution the IBM team came up with involved turning volumes of raw data into intelligent information through a network of sensor-equipped buoys and analytics, and then delivering it to multiple stakeholders on the bay — from scientists, to ocean energy developers, to fisherman, to the harbormaster.
The technology at work here — called InfoSphere Streams — is a clever piece of stream-computing software from IBM that enables massive amounts of data to be correlated and analyzed for patterns and trends at more than 200 times a second — faster than a hummingbird can flap its wings!
InfoSphere Streams was one of the technologies making everything work inside the
We see this capability at work in Galway Bay, where scientists were able to help predict water conditions and provide an early warning system for pollution, harmful algal blooms, and the long term effects of global climate change, among other things.
Plans for the project's next phase includes extending the system out over Ireland’s continental shelf and down into the sunless depths of the abyssal ocean plain — more than two miles below the ocean surface — as well as incorporating the information collected by SmartBay into Web-based lesson plans for schools in the Galway area.
Thanks to InfoSphere Streams and other innovative technologies, the people of Galway Bay are offered a unique window into the underwater world . . . and the wonder of a complex and changing ecosystem.