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IBM Journal of Research and Development

Issue 1.2 • Date Jan.-March 2011

Volume 55, Number 1&2, Jan./Mar.: Smarter Cities

Information technology plays a central role in smarter cities by supporting instrumentation, interconnection, and intelligence in areas ranging from city infrastructure and services to environmental protection and the operations of commercial enterprises. Broad themes in this issue include urban modeling, the application of information technology in cities, the boundaries at which physical infrastructures form interfaces with digital systems, and integrated city services for which the interdependencies of the various city subsystems create a significant scientific and engineering challenge.

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Displaying Results 1 - 19 of 19
  • Cover 1

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): C1
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Table of Contents

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 2
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Preface: Smarter Cities

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 0:1 - 0:5
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Complexity of legacy city resource management and value modeling of interagency response

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1:1 - 1:12
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (9731 KB)  

    For most cities, it is very challenging to both collect information from throughout a city, irrespective of agency or city function, and integrate this information into a broad decision-support environment. For example, this is particularly challenging for mature cities of the size and complexity of New York City, Tokyo, and London and for their managing agencies. Resource management for a city spans multiple domains including water and sanitation, buildings, transportation, energy, security, citizen services, and regional development. Implementing processes, policies, or interoperability features across multiple domains in a legacy city, as defined in this paper, requires significant coordination and “permission” among the agency players. Here, we propose a novel smarter-city maturity model that depicts the cross-domain and agency-to-agency interactions in response to an event (such as a water-main break). We also propose an enabling system architecture and multidomain-aware command portal that provide a detailed plan to address and optimize the management of resources for complex events. Finally, we propose a value-modeling method for quantifying the estimated cost of alternative scenarios and of selecting the best response to an event. To illustrate the approach, an example is given for a rainfall event. View full abstract»

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  • Urban design, urban simulation, and the need for computational tools

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 2:1 - 2:17
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (34227 KB)  

    In this paper, we discuss the need for increased research into the development of sophisticated but easy-to-use simulation and analysis tools that can be used by urban designers to guide the development of urban design projects. We also present the current status of a research project under development by computational designers at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill Limited Liability Partnership, an architecture and urban design firm, to address this need within the profession. The practice of urban design has historically incorporated relatively little performance-based mathematical rigor within the processes of designing cities. Instead, there are a number of codified and uncodified design theories, principles, and assumptions that are adopted or proposed by talented senior designers according to intuitions developed after encountering numerous examples of successful and unsuccessful urban design strategies. With the development of a reliable set of simulation and analysis tools, many of these urban design theories, principles, and assumptions could be evaluated for effectiveness with much greater certainty than is currently possible, bringing a higher level of rational and rigor to the practice of urban design. View full abstract»

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  • A decision-support system for smarter city planning and management

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 3:1 - 3:12
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (3235 KB)  

    Urbanization and globalization have had a profound impact on city development during the last ten years. Rapid technological advancements and the emphasis on sustainability provide city planners and managers with more opportunities and challenges than ever before. A city—composed of various operational systems, networks, infrastructures, and environments—can be improved and optimized through the application of advanced technology solutions. A smart city is one that utilizes self-managing autonomic technologies to identify its functions and promote prosperity and sustainability. This kind of city involves one of the most promising city development strategies worldwide. This paper develops a decision-support system that both assesses multidimensional levels of “smartness” for the current solutions of a city to environmental problems and recommends an optimal set of improvement strategies. The development of smartness assessment is based on the notion of a self-managing autonomic system defined by IBM. A hybrid approach called GAA* combines an A* graph search algorithm with genetic algorithms and is used to analyze all possible improvement strategies and tradeoffs, balancing required budgets, expected benefits, and upgradeable adaptive levels to determine optimal solutions. Two decision scenarios are introduced to validate proposed strategies provided by the decision system. View full abstract»

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  • Using standards to enable the transformation to smarter cities

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 4:1 - 4:10
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (422 KB)  

    This paper explores how standards will play a critical role in facilitating the creation of smarter cities with systems that are optimized by using a comprehensive information view from pervasive instrumentation. The underlying premise is that the combination of standards, models, and a new suite of design tools and techniques will be needed to address various challenges and make significant progress toward the creation of smarter cities, as defined in this paper. We start by giving examples of where standards have enabled the transformation of large-scale industry systems, such as banking. Drawing from these insights, this paper shows how standards are applicable to the creation, adoption, and management of diverse hierarchies of systems found in cities. In addition, we provide a perspective on key standards currently deployed in cities and areas of development required to address inefficiencies that will help guide the design of new city-wide systems. View full abstract»

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  • On-demand conversation customization for services in large smart environments

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 5:1 - 5:14
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4966 KB)  

    Services in large smart environments, as defined in this paper, are “aware” of their users' contexts and goals and are able to automatically interact with one another in order to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, interactions between services (i.e., service conversations) are not necessarily compatible, as services could have different interfaces (i.e., signature incompatibilities), as well as different logic for message ordering (i.e., protocol incompatibilities). Such conversation incompatibilities create obstacles for achieving semantic interoperability of services. One approach for handling conversation incompatibilities is to use conversation adapters, which should be created automatically by the middleware in order to be able to support on-demand conversation customization. Existing approaches for automatic adapter generation are strictly limited as they require no changes at the interface level. To overcome such a limitation, this paper proposes a novel ontology-based context-sensitive approach for automatic adapter generation. This approach captures the aggregate conditional substitution semantics of application-domain concepts in a context-based manner and uses these semantics to determine the mappings between the different conversation messages and to generate the corresponding conversion functions. The proposed approach ensures service semantic interoperability and increases the chances for service reuse, which consequently improves the efficiency of the smart environment. View full abstract»

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  • Sensor Andrew: Large-scale campus-wide sensing and actuation

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 6:1 - 6:14
    Cited by:  Papers (8)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (6481 KB)  

    In this paper, we present Sensor Andrew, an infrastructure for Internet-scale sensing and actuation across a wide range of heterogeneous devices designed to facilitate application development. The goal of Sensor Andrew is to enable a variety of ubiquitous large-scale monitoring and control applications in a way that is extensible, easy to use, and secure while maintaining privacy. To illustrate the requirements of Sensor Andrew, as well as the capabilities and limitations of the system, we outline one such application in which multiple classes of energy sensors are combined with environmental sensors to not only monitor energy usage but also identify energy waste within buildings. View full abstract»

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  • Smarter cities through standards-based wireless sensor networks

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 7:1 - 7:10
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (632 KB)  

    Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) started as an academic concept and became a commercially relevant technology. This technology will play a key role in creating more instrumented and interconnected urban environments. The resulting smarter cities will have more efficient management of resources and increasing quality of life for the city inhabitants. To enable large-scale deployments of heterogeneous citywide WSNs, it is important to agree on the communication protocols that these networks run. Standardization bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers are finalizing different protocols that, once combined, form a complete protocol stack. This protocol stack allows robust and secure communication, as well as seamless integration with the Internet. In this paper, we present the different protocols forming this standards-based stack, as well as the achievable tradeoffs between latency, power efficiency, and throughput. After providing details on the existing applications of WSNs to smarter cities, we discuss what opportunities such standards-based WSNs can offer. View full abstract»

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  • Physical–digital integration in city infrastructure

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 8:1 - 8:10
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4983 KB)  

    There is increasing recognition by researchers, businesses, and policymakers of the value of integrating the systems of systems of which cities are comprised. It is less clear how this can be achieved, in practice, from a technical and organizational standpoint. This paper is concerned with one element of this integration, namely, the integration of physical infrastructures and digital technologies. We argue that technological innovation has historically been crucial to the development of cities and will also be crucial in future smart cities. Cities become “smarter” when they make use of the increased availability of data and analytical techniques to improve effectiveness and efficiency. The better integration of physical and digital infrastructures can significantly contribute to these objectives. The engineering tools and models used in the design, construction, and operation of a city infrastructure can now utilize a suite of technologies and processes to assist this integration. This is particularly necessary and challenging when the collaborative involvement of diverse parties is required and different vintages of infrastructure and technology must be combined. This paper is based on case studies of IBM and the construction company Laing O'Rourke. It provides examples showing how these “innovation technologies” improve opportunity and reduce risk in physical–digital integration and provides questions for further investigation. View full abstract»

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  • Smarter bridges through advanced structural health monitoring

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 9:1 - 9:10
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1400 KB)  

    This paper describes an IBM and the University of Miami joint research project providing infrastructure and application components to advance structural health monitoring of civil infrastructures such as bridges. We discuss a newly developed software infrastructure that enables a shift from batch to continuous bridge monitoring, providing continuous real-time sensor data collection and forwarding to a monitoring location where the data is cleansed (e.g., corrected), normalized, and recorded. We also discuss how significant load events are detected and fracture mechanics analytics are applied to assess bridge structural health. Finally, we discuss visualization of the raw and processed data. The University of Miami civil engineers developed the continual analytics techniques based on fracture mechanics and acoustic-emission analytics that together with the software infrastructure make it possible to perform more accurate and real-time monitoring of bridge deterioration. For civil structural health monitoring, this introduces a shift from time- to event-based analytics by exploiting a rolling, potentially complex, significant event-based threshold that triggers the analytics. The system was deployed on a single laboratory test specimen to assess the validity of the messaging and analytical tools in a simulated bridge environment. View full abstract»

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  • Public–private partnership, information technology, and operational efficiency at Sandy Springs, Georgia

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 10:1 - 10:9
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4525 KB)  

    The city of Sandy Springs became the seventh largest city in Georgia when it became incorporated in December 2005. For more than 30 years, the residents had struggled to make this area a city, in order to achieve improved service levels and better use of public funds. The Governor's Commission, which helped to guide the city at its inception, proposed using a public–private partnership model to set up and operate the new city government. CH2M HILL, which is a company involved in full-service engineering, consulting, construction, and operations, was selected to form a partnership with the city of Sandy Springs and to establish the new government in 100 days. CH2M HILL is responsible for the information technology (IT), communications, finance and accounting, community development, public works, and parks and recreation aspects of city government. This paper describes the city's IT decisions in the first 100 days—decisions that were made to foster efficiency and provide high-quality customer service. The technology components described herein include an automated pavement management data-collection system, a work order system, a state-of-the-practice traffic management center, and online citizen interaction. This paper also describes the decision process for selecting the systems, implementation details, and the benefits delivered to the city and its citizens. View full abstract»

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  • Investigation of the waste-removal chain through pervasive computing

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 11:1 - 11:11
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (5943 KB)  

    Environmental sustainability and energy management are increasingly critical issues in people's lives and their livelihood. New and rapidly evolving tracking technologies are major tools for addressing these challenges because they provide visibility to the otherwise hidden processes of everyday infrastructures such as those involving waste removal. By revealing these processes and patterns, the technologies can help influence personal behavior with respect to environmental consciousness. Pervasive monitoring and analysis can also improve environmental sustainability by revealing inefficiencies in the waste-removal chain to municipalities and waste service providers, as well as monitoring compliance with environmental regulations. We present a tracking system for trash that demonstrates how pervasive monitoring can help to better reveal, understand, and improve the waste-management system. Custom-developed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “trash tags” use the Global System for Mobile communication technology to provide both coarse localization and active return communications. We discuss methods for calculating and visualizing movement of trash and present preliminary results from the Trash Track project, including information about tag performance and discussion of some acquired traces. With the Trash Track project, the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory is exploring how new pervasive sensor technologies can be used to transform and understand cities. View full abstract»

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  • Cross-sector integration of urban information to enhance sustainable decision making

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 12:1 - 12:8
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (140 KB)  

    Helping cities to function more effectively and efficiently is one of the best ways to achieve global sustainability goals. Such improvements can come from new technologies, new information, or new management practices. This paper focuses on ways that cities can benefit from collaborations involving nonmunicipal levels of government, private companies, nongovernmental organizations, and universities. Specific examples include using immersive visualization to clarify how different parts of urban systems interact, convening sustainability managers from throughout a metropolitan region to share best practices, identifying common metrics for cities around the world, using remote-sensing observations to characterize and classify urban regions, ensuring that companies and universities work with cities to prepare joint federal grant proposals, and allowing university researchers access to operational data from companies that manage city services. A valuable next step for promoting urban sustainability involves the gathering of such methods into a replicable toolkit. View full abstract»

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  • Analytics-driven asset management

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 13:1 - 13:19
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (8571 KB)  

    Asset-intensive businesses across industries rely on physical assets to deliver services to their customers, and effective asset management is critical to the businesses. Today, businesses may make use of enterprise asset-management (EAM) solutions for many asset-related processes, ranging from the core asset-management functions to maintenance, inventory, contracts, warranties, procurement, and customer-service management. While EAM solutions have transformed the operational aspects of asset management through data capture and process automation, the decision-making process with respect to assets still heavily relies on institutional knowledge and anecdotal insights. Analytics-driven asset management is an approach that makes use of advanced analytics and optimization technologies to transform the vast amounts of data from asset management, metering, and sensor systems into actionable insight, foresight, and prescriptions that can guide decisions involving strategic and tactical assets, as well as customer and business models. View full abstract»

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  • Collaboration platforms in smarter water management

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 14:1 - 14:11
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (8555 KB)  

    Water resource management, delivery, and research are inhibited by fragmented data sources. It is nearly impossible for public officials to make informed planning decisions that benefit water wholesalers, retailers, and consumers or to efficiently operate water systems beyond their physical and organizational boundaries. Organizations operate water systems within their service areas in ways that may be suboptimal for the sustainable management of the resource as a whole. The organizations make decisions on the basis of available data, which may be incomplete or in the wrong spatial or temporal scale. Data is not shared with other organizations whose decisions and conclusions could be improved with more complete information. This can lead to more complex and fragmented water management decision-making processes that do not address the entire water resource. Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) in California and the SmartBay project in Ireland use advanced information technology to create collaboration platforms enabling multi-organizational management of water resources, based on information availability and sharing. While SCWA is deploying such a platform for pilot testing in early 2011 and SmartBay has been operating since late 2008, both projects provide the opportunity to overview the core components and technologies of collaboration platforms and the qualitative benefits (environmental, economic, financial, and political) that can result for water resource management. View full abstract»

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  • Enabling integrated city operations

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 15:1 - 15:10
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (880 KB)  

    Cities throughout the world are facing increasingly complex challenges as they continue to accommodate population growth and demands for higher-quality services while managing budgetary constraints. An effective implementation of advanced technology is essential to addressing these challenges. The pervasive use of smart sensors to provide real-time monitoring and control of systems for services—such as public safety, water, and power—serves as a foundational layer. The next step is to integrate real-time information and processes so work is coordinated efficiently. The most valuable and powerful result of integration is the ability to create a unified real-time view of the status of the entire city similar to a network-operations-center view of a data center. This enables new solutions such as a city command center to optimize operations for individual services while simultaneously optimizing actions for goals associated with the city as a holistic entity. Real-time simultaneous optimization of all systems in a city may seem like a difficult goal to achieve, but this paper describes how information technology event-management architectures, semantic models, and standards can be extended in a practical fashion to accomplish this vision. View full abstract»

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  • Complex city systems: Understanding how large technical systems innovation arises in cities

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 16:1 - 16:13
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1244 KB)  

    Information and communications technology (ICT) is being exploited within cities to enable them to better compete in a global knowledge-based service-led economy. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, cities exploited large technical systems (LTSs)—such as the telegraph, telephony, electrical networks, and other technologies—to enhance their social and economic position. This paper examines how the LTS model applies to ICT deployments, including broadband network, municipal wireless, and related services, and how cities and city planners in the twenty-first century are using or planning to use these technologies. This paper also examines their motivations and expectations, the contribution to date, and the factors affecting outcomes. The findings extend the LTS model by proposing an increased role for organizations with respect to an individual agency. The findings show how organizations form themselves into networks that interact and influence the outcome of the system at the level of the city. The extension to LTS, in the context of city infrastructure, is referred to as the complex city system framework. This proposed framework integrates the role of these stakeholder networks, as well as that of the socioeconomic, technical, and spatial factors within a city, and shows how together they shape the technical system and its socioeconomic contribution. 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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Editor-in-Chief
Clifford A. Pickover
IBM T. J. Watson Research Center