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IBM Journal of Research and Development

Issue 4 • Date July-Aug. 2010

Technologies for a Smarter Planet

Today, people interact locally and globally with increasing consequences for their communities and the planet as a whole. Sensors and information technology enable many aspects of life to become more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent, i.e., "smarter." This issue contains eight papers describing components of an intelligent infrastructure that integrate sensor data and related business data with mathematical models to support monitoring, managing, and decision making for cities, transportation systems, and utilities. The technologies described range from Agile software development to security, messaging, information space analytics, mathematical modeling, enterprise architecture, and energy-efficient data centers.

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Displaying Results 1 - 11 of 11
  • Cover 1

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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Table of contents

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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Preface: Technologies for a Smarter Planet

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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Foundations for Smarter Cities

    Page(s): 1 - 16
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    This paper describes the information technology (IT) foundation and principles for Smarter Cities™. Smarter Cities are urban areas that exploit operational data, such as that arising from traffic congestion, power consumption statistics, and public safety events, to optimize the operation of city services. The foundational concepts are instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. Instrumented refers to sources of near-real-time real-world data from both physical and virtual sensors. Interconnected means the integration of those data into an enterprise computing platform and the communication of such information among the various city services. Intelligent refers to the inclusion of complex analytics, modeling, optimization, and visualization in the operational business processes to make better operational decisions. This approach enables the adaptation of city services to the behavior of the inhabitants, which permits the optimal use of the available physical infrastructure and resources, for example, in sensing and controlling consumption of energy and water, managing waste processing and transportation systems, and applying optimization to achieve new efficiencies among these resources. Additional roles exist in intelligent interaction between the city and its inhabitants and further contribute to operational efficiency while maintaining or enhancing quality of life. View full abstract»

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  • Managing the risks of Smarter Planet solutions

    Page(s): 1 - 9
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    We live in a world in which powerful computers and network connectivity have become pervasive. Our systems and solutions can interact globally in ways that would have seemed impossible a few years ago. This combination of pervasive computing and high-speed global networking creates the environment known as Smarter Planet™. Smarter Planet solutions involve an interconnection of systems and data that present an entirely new set of security and risk management challenges. The intention of this paper is to discuss the emerging threats and risks by considering examples from diverse Smarter Planet solutions. Root causes are identified by drawing on lessons from operational security, mathematics, economics, and social science. Finally, we highlight some measures that are being implemented to mitigate these threats and risks for the future. View full abstract»

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  • A smarter process for sensing the information space

    Page(s): 1 - 13
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    As a result of the growth of the Internet, the amount of available information is exponentially increasing. However, increasing the amount of information does not imply increasing usefulness. Furthermore, as the complexity of business relationships increases, there is a natural tendency toward less structured interaction between entities. This highlights the growing relevance of unstructured information in documenting the interactions of organizations and individuals. Analyzing and making sense of this unstructured information space requires more than text-mining algorithms; it requires a strategic approach. We propose a unified approach that addresses a variety of information space analytics problems. Our method for making sense of unstructured data is described by six steps that are analogous to the algebraic order of operations PEMDAS (parenthesis, exponent, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction). These basic text-mining operations can be combined in many interesting ways to handle a diverse set of problems, and just as in algebra, it is critical that these operations be performed in the correct order to guarantee a meaningful result. In this paper, we describe how PEMDAS has been implemented within organizations to enable decisions that produced measurable business value. View full abstract»

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  • Improving data-center efficiency for a Smarter Planet

    Page(s): 1 - 8
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    In 2009, IBM launched its Smarter Planet™ initiative, which is based on the paradigm that virtually any physical object, process, or system can be instrumented, interconnected, and infused with intelligence. Because of the increased demand for information technology (IT) to facilitate Smarter Planet solutions, physical data centers have become interconnected, instrumented, and intelligent (i.e., adaptable, scalable, energy efficient, and cost effective). “Green data centers,” which are discussed in this paper, are those that make use of facilities and IT integration, resulting in lower energy costs, reduced carbon footprint, and reduced demand for power, space, and cooling resources. This paper reviews energy-efficiency strategies that are being incorporated in eight million square feet of data-center space that IBM operates in support of its customers. These strategies include both a dynamic infrastructure IT initiative and an energy-efficiencies pillar of the IBM New Enterprise Data Center initiative. For example, compared to nonmodular designs, implementation of a modular design to optimize expandable data centers will better match the IT demand with the data-center energy supply. This high-level overview describes the integration of these strategies to create a class of leading-edge IBM data centers and a plan for the optimization of existing data centers. View full abstract»

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  • The application of publish/subscribe messaging to environmental, monitoring, and control systems

    Page(s): 1 - 7
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    A significant opportunity exists to apply information technology to better understand and more efficiently manage large complex manmade and natural systems. These systems often involve large-scale environmental, monitoring, and control systems, operating in harsh conditions with unreliable and low-bandwidth connections between a variety of heterogeneous devices. While there are many examples of these systems deployed, increasingly, there is a requirement to tightly integrate and couple these systems with more traditional core business applications and underlying infrastructure. This requirement is motivated by the desire for organizations to respond more quickly to new opportunities or threats, to gain deeper insight into the behavior of these systems, and to leverage existing investments in common tools, software stacks, programming models, and infrastructure. Deployment of such systems requires a pervasive messaging infrastructure to enable intercommunication of applications and devices. The publish/subscribe messaging paradigm has a number of characteristics that make it very attractive in this environment. These include scalability, efficiency, decoupling between publishing and subscribing entities, and the ability to integrate a wide variety of devices and systems. In this paper, we explore the application of the publish/subscribe messaging paradigm and a programming model to environmental, monitoring, and control systems, drawing on experience of projects from a variety of industries. View full abstract»

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  • Intelligent Enterprise Architecture

    Page(s): 1 - 2
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    Stakeholders in business and information technology (IT) enterprises are faced with challenges that result from technological changes occurring at accelerated paces, economic and environmental issues demanding immediate actions, and a need for more precise collaborative decision making. Consequently, chief executive officers are required to respond with solutions that can only be sustained if built upon solid foundations. This paper introduces Intelligent Enterprise Architecture (IEA) as an architectural style and technique that addresses current and future business and IT trends, along with the technological impacts of a Smarter Planet™ on enterprise architecture. The building of a Smarter Planet involves thinking and acting in new ways to make systems more efficient and productive. Thus, we describe an IEA and ways in which foundations can be laid for enterprises to address business complexities that demonstrate Smarter Planet characteristics, including instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent characteristics. IEA is composed of four entry points, referred to as IEA for Cloud, IEA for Social Computing, IEA for Green & Beyond, and IEA for Information Intelligence. Example applications of IEA are provided and include a utility client that reduces energy use due to data-center architecture improvements. We also discuss the potential economic benefit of IEA. View full abstract»

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  • A brief report on working smarter with Agile software development

    Page(s): 1 - 10
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    Agile software development methods have proven to be a substantial catalyst for improvements in software quality, speed of delivery, and fitness for use, and are a driver behind the IBM Smarter Planet™ initiative, which involves intelligent approaches that address the needs of a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected and instrumented. Software vendors who use a traditional or waterfall approach (i.e., sequential software development process) for requirement analysis and development often find that they cannot react with sufficient speed to meet rapidly changing market demand. As a result, stakeholders must wait for the vendor to complete a lengthy development cycle, which, when complete, may miss the market window for the software or fail to adequately address other needs of these stakeholders. Agile development methods, as practiced across geographically diverse and broad development teams at IBM, directly address this issue. One purpose of this paper is simply to provide a brief high-level overview and record of the adoption of these practices and methods across a large company, i.e., the IBM Corporation. View full abstract»

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  • Toward an integrative software infrastructure for water management in the Smarter Planet

    Page(s): 1 - 20
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    Building a Smarter Planet™ requires creating an intelligent infrastructure that integrates technology with business, government, and the everyday life of the citizens of earth, to maximize the use of scarce resources, balance human use and ecosystem preservation, reduce costs, and improve quality of life. One of the keystones of this intelligent infrastructure is an integrative modeling framework (IMF), which is a platform for enabling the integration by nonexpert users of diverse sensor-based data, related business data, and complex cross-disciplinary mathematical modeling, in support of planning, monitoring, management, reporting, and decision support applications. We describe a research prototype that applies the Mashup Automation with Runtime Invocation and Orchestration (MARIO) technology from IBM Research to this problem in a specific application area in water management: simulating stream discharges using compositions of hydrologic process submodels derived from monolithic stream discharge simulators. We show how MARIO's semantic tagging and model composition engine enable us to meet three critical challenges of an IMF: 1) generating valid chains or compositions of model components, given a definition of starting and ending states; 2) allowing all scientifically valid compositions of components; and 3) disallowing compositions that are scientifically invalid, i.e., that combine model components whose basic assumptions about quantities such as soil architectures or evaporation schemes conflict. While we focus here on water management, the technology that we describe can readily be generalized to other intelligent infrastructure applications, e.g., cities, transportation, and utilities. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

The IBM Journal of Research and Development is a peer-reviewed technical journal, published bimonthly, which features the work of authors in the science, technology and engineering of information systems.

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Meet Our Editors

Clifford A. Pickover
IBM T. J. Watson Research Center