How IBM Is Using Big Data To Battle Air Pollution In Cities

For the past year, IBM has been helping Beijing to combat its air pollution crisis using a data analysis platform called Green Horizons. On Wednesday, Big Blue’s Research division announced four more partnerships — two in China, one in India and one in South Africa — to increase the capacity of more urban centers to measure and monitor air pollution.

When Green Horizons comes to the cities of Baoding, Zhangjiakou, Delhi and Johannesburg, it will use machine learning to analyze previous weather forecasts, crunching data to determine how good those predictions were in different scenarios, and then build better forecasting models over time.

Weather conditions have a direct effect upon how city residents experience the effects of air pollution, from high temperatures increasing ground-level ozone concentrations to high winds carrying industrial particulates into urban areas.

“The system constantly learns how can you improve a forecast, when and where, for what part of the city, and under what time horizon,” Hendrik Hamann, manager of physical analytics for IBM Watson, told The Huffington Post.

In the video below, you can see a demonstration of the Green Horizons forecasting system, applying the technology that underpins IBM Watson to predicting the intensity of air pollution:

“Knowing where pollution is coming from and how much is in the air will drive action to reduce it,” Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told HuffPost. “Experience shows that when measurement happens, pollution levels go down and public health is improved. This near-term action improves the livability of communities and the wellbeing of citizens.”

The news of IBM’s expanded collaboration comes during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where representatives from over 190 countries are discussing an —> Read More