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IBM Earth Patents Software Technology

IBM Says New Software Will Help Predict Natural Disasters 72

coondoggie writes "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."
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IBM Says New Software Will Help Predict Natural Disasters

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  • Actual article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eevee ( 535658 ) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @09:42AM (#34003552)
    The actual article is from CNN [].
  • Bad summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Sunday October 24, 2010 @09:49AM (#34003584)

    Two keywords:


    ie there is no "prediction" of the event - only of its impact on nearby humans. Sensationalism at its best.

  • Re:Oh Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Sunday October 24, 2010 @09:55AM (#34003620) Journal
    "So they are claiming to be able to predict the unpredictable?"

    No, that's just the all to familiar sensationalist headline.
  • Re:Oh Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by vbraga ( 228124 ) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:11AM (#34003708) Journal

    Thank you for pointing it out. The correct URL is : [].

  • RTFA (Score:3, Informative)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:36AM (#34003820)
    The headline sucks but the idea is in the "OK, that pretty clever" category:

    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.

    Combine this data with the WTF was that?" posts on Twitter [] and you're all set. (Also, don't many new laptops also have accelerometers? Quake@Home!)


  • Re:Oh Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:42AM (#34003846) Journal

    Erm.. they're claiming to be able to predict tsunamis in the aftermath of earthquakes, not the earthquakes themselves.

    Although earthquakes, too, should be predictable if you can get the right measuring equipment in the right places: "just" measure the strain, and when it gets close to the slip point, earthquake is likely.

    Anyway, the software IBM is talking about doesn't do that. It takes the earthquake as data input, and spits out the likely damage resulting as information output. Something that is both useful, and not impossible.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."