Tech Dec 10, 2015 07:58 AM EST

IBM Broadens Push in China, India to Predict Pollution Patterns

By Staff Writer

International Business Machines Corp., which has been developing artificial intelligence to help fight Beijing's toxic air pollution by predicting pollution patterns, plans to work with other municipalities in China and India on similar projects to manage air quality.

IBM Research - China was established in Beijing in September of 1995.  A new research facility was opened October 2008 in Shanghai giving local partners with greater accessibility to IBM Research's capabilities. Now IBM Research will help an advisory body known as the Delhi Dialogue Commission to understand the link between traffic patterns and smog in the Indian capital so that decisions related to improving air quality can be backed with modeling, the Armonk, New York-based Company said on Wednesday.
According to Bloomberg, the announcement comes as smog continues to enshroud Beijing this week, prompting city officials to issue a red alert for the first time since a four-tier warning system was put in place in 2013. Air quality in the Chinese capital is expected to remain at hazardous levels until at least Thursday morning, according to the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

The undertaking is an offshoot of a similar initiative started last year to address air pollution through a partnership with Beijing's municipal government. In collaboration with Beijing, IBM has been testing a computer system capable of learning to predict pollution patterns 72 hours in advance, along with pollution trends as many as 10 days into the future.

According to the Upstate SC News, the company is also working with local authorities in China's northern cities of Baoding, Zhangjiakou, and in the Xinjiang region.
IBM's model is able to estimate where pollution is coming from, where it will go and then analyze possible government responses, said Dong Jin, associate director of IBM's China research unit. The systems apply IBM's cognitive computing, which is capable of taking unstructured data, understand it, learn from mistakes and offer improvements, said Dong.

The company uses data drawn from air monitoring stations, meteorological and environmental satellites, emissions, land use, traffic patterns, social media and the macro-economy, said Zhang Meng, chief meteorologist at the research unit.

Artificial Intelligence is helping to forecast air pollution patterns which are otherwise hard to figure out. This is going to give enough power to governments to tackle air pollution effectively. The IBM is also using similar technologies to help forecast the availability of renewable energy in the U.K., the U.S., Japan and China.

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