IBM develops natural disaster 'magic potion'

IBM develops natural disaster 'magic potion'

Mathematical tool helps allocate resources

IBM scientists claim to have come up with algorithms that will help model and manage natural disasters, including wildfires, floods and diseases.

Experts from IBM's Global Business Services have worked with scientists in India and the US to provide government bodies, relief agencies and companies with tools to mitigate and manage natural disasters.

IBM said that its mathematicians have created the equivalent of a "magic potion" that helps speed up and simplify complex tasks, assisting with the effective allocation of resources.

Tasks include the ability to determine the fastest means of delivering relief, detecting fraud in health insurance claims, the automation of complex risk decisions for international financial institutions, and detecting patterns in medical data for new insights and breakthroughs.

"The challenge lies in matching high-end mathematical programming technologies with high-impact business and societal problems, while using open platforms and standards," said Dr Daniel Dias, director of IBM India research laboratory.

"Our researchers have worked on innovative optimisation solutions designed to create a roadmap for a responsive disaster risk reduction."

IBM said that the same algorithms can be used to manage floods and famines in India, helping the country to tackle disaster risk reduction and disaster management.

"We are creating a set of intellectual properties and software assets that can be employed to gauge and improve levels of preparedness to tackle unforeseen natural disasters," said Dr Gyana Parija, senior researcher and optimisation expert at IBM's India Research Laboratory in New Delhi.

"Most real-world problems involve uncertainty, and this has been the inspiration for us to tackle challenges in natural disaster management."