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How IBM is Tackling Beijing’s Smog Problem with Big Data

By   /  July 7, 2014  /  No Comments

Beijing smogby Angela Guess

Gwynn Guilford of Quartz recently wrote, “Of China’s major cities, Beijing’s pollution problem is probably the worst, causing thousands of premature deaths every year. Its residents are fed up. The growing outrage has forced leaders to declare a ‘war on pollution,’ including the goal of slashing Beijing’s PM2.5— the concentration of the particles that pose the greatest risk to human health—by 25% by 2017. The Beijing municipal government will earmark nearly 1 trillion yuan ($160 billion) to meet that target. Why, then, are the city’s own government officials skeptical about hitting that 2017 goal? Perhaps because Beijing’s pollution woes are unusually complicated. The city is flanked on three sides by smog-trapping mountain ranges. There are numerous sources of foul air, and a multitude of subtle ways the chemicals interact with each other, which make it hard to identify what problems need fixing.”

Guilford continues, “IBM thinks it change that outlook. On Monday, the company will unveil a 10-year initiative launched in partnership with the Beijing Municipal Government to improve China’s national energy systems and protect the health of its citizens. Called ‘Green Horizon,’ the project will focus on air quality management, renewable energy management and energy optimization among Chinese industries. IBM plan of attack involves some of the buzziest things in tech, including harnessing the processing power of ‘big data‘ as well as the ‘internet of things,’ weather modeling, and supercomputing.”

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