IBM says software helps predict natural disasters

IBM patents natural disaster warning system

IBM says it has patented a natural disaster warning system, which uses analytic techniques that accurately and precisely conducts post-event analysis of seismic events, such as earthquakes, as well as provide early warnings for tsunamis, which can follow earthquakes. The invention also provides the ability to rapidly measure and analyze the damage zone of an earthquake to help prioritize emergency response needed following an earthquake.

IBM makes the mainframe young again

According to Big Blue, the invention would require a piece of software running on each machine in a data center that would gather data generated by vibration sensors, known as MEMS accelerometers, within computer hard disk drives to analyze information generated by seismic events. This technique is enabled by collecting hard drive sensor data and transmitting it via high speed networking to a data processing center, which can analyze the data, classify the events, and enrich the data -- in real time, IBM says.

From there, it can be determined exactly when a seismic event started, how long a seismic event lasted, the intensity of a seismic event, the frequency of motion of a seismic event, direction of motion of a seismic event, IBM says.  This invention is able to crowd-source important earthquake IBM stated. 

Information is then delivered to decision makers for action, including the emergency response representatives, such as police, firefighters or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

 "Every modern hard drive has an accelerometer built into it and, with this invention, you can take the data off the device, network it together, analyze it, and generate actionable information that tells you in very fine detail what happened during an earthquake," says IBM inventor Robert Friedlander "It is a means to quickly learn what happened, receive a first estimate of what damage has been done, and help first responders determine where they should direct their emergency resources."

The invention also uses sensor data to assess and provide early warnings for tsunamis, which can follow earthquakes that occur at the ocean floor.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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