Now this type of progress really makes it cool to work at IBM - real impact on people and lives:
ARMONK, N.Y. and BALTIMORE - 19 Nov 2009: IBM (NSYE: IBM) today announced researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) are using IBM technology to analyze smoke patterns during wildfires. The goal of the research is to provide fire and public safety officials with a real-time assessment of the fire, allowing them to make more informed decisions on public evacuations and health warnings.
Current analysis of smoke patterns is limited to weather forecasting data that is updated every six hours, observations from front-line workers and low resolution satellite imagery. Using a cluster of IBM BladeCenter servers housed at the UMBC College of Engineering and Information Technology's Multicore Computational Center (MC2), the team of faculty and student researchers will be able to instantly process the massive amounts of data available from drone aircraft, high-resolution satellite imagery and air-quality sensors to develop more effective models for smoke dissipation.
There is more at the press release itself so head on over there to get the full details. Thought I'd share, though since we have now provided the ability for real-time understanding of how wildfires are moving and how to fight them. Really awesome stuff!
The technology also uses IBM InfoSphere Streams. Check 'em out!