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IBM Tackles Smarter Water Management in Europe


New center to study impact of climate change, severe weather.

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE and ARMONK, In a region of France known for sunshine, agriculture and natural spring water, IBM (NYSE: IBM) has established a Center of Excellence for Water Management to use high performance computing to monitor and forecast the impact of climate change and severe weather conditions on water resources.

Based in Montpellier, France, the center is in the Languedoc Roussillon, a southern-facing region with abundant sunshine and seasonal, torrential rains causing millions of dollars worth of damages each year. More than 400 miles of levees exist to protect the 600,000 people living in potential flood zones.

”We have a unique opportunity, and unique ability, to apply our combined expertise in high performance computing, sensor networks and advanced analytics across a wide variety of water management challenges,” said Sharon Nunes, vice president, Big Green Innovations, IBM. “We’re modeling and simulating flash flooding scenarios, water management infrastructures, reservoir systems and more to develop new innovations for predicting, managing and sometimes even preventing events that might otherwise have a negative impact on a region’s water supply.”

The center’s high performance computing modeling capabilities combined with resilient sensor networks will enable fast, high resolution, large scale simulations based on multiple scenarios and options. With this ability, scientists can bring together a diverse set of information incorporating weather and climate changes, flood patterns, reservoir activity and more to develop new insights and innovations for smarter water management. Initiatives at the center are expected to complement those already underway with the county council including levee management, pollution reduction and sustained economic development.

One of the first projects slated for the Center of Excellence will be a collaborative effort by IBM and the ClusterEAU, an association of research laboratories, educational organizations and enterprises, to explore projects for advanced water resources management.. The ClusterEAU was formed to respond to the constantly growing needs for innovative proposals to face the issues of ensuring the concerted management of world water resources in a context of global changes and new challenges arising from human society: rapidly growing populations, energy challenges, economic and environmental issues in urban and rural development, globalisation of markets and services, emerging countries, stagnation in the poorest regions, and more.

“The new Center of Excellence will be a unique opportunity for us to establish strong collaborations with IBM and jointly promote our expertise in the field of advanced water resources management, particularly the computational aspects,” said Jean-Pierre Buchoud, president, ClusterEAU.

In 2008, IBM established centers of excellence for water management in Amsterdam, where the primary focus is on flood management and levee systems, and in Dublin, where the primary focus is to monitor, manage and forecast environmental challenges such as the movement of pollutants in fresh water, marine and oceanic environments.

IBM’s smarter water management offering is part of its Big Green Innovations initiative, launched in October 2006 as part of IBM’s $100 million investment in 10 new businesses generated by InnovationJam.


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