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Your disk drive could save the world

Why only search for extraterrestrial intelligence?
Mon Oct 25 2010, 17:51

ACCURATELY PREDICTING disaster is a holy grail of science and IBM is sort of claiming a first with a warning system that sadly for Microsoft is for natural disasters and not desktop or mobile operating systems.

The warning system is sent data from vibration sensors in computer hard disk drives when they are affected by seismic events. The warning system is a data processing center that analyses the incoming information in real time.

That analysis determines when a seismic event started, how long it lasted, its intensity and the frequency and direction of motion. The information can then be delivered to emergency responders like police, firefighters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency or other service providers.

IBM claims that this warning system will enable accurate and precise post-event analysis of earthquakes as well as provide early warnings for tsunamis, which can follow earthquakes.

In other words it's a warning system for people living on the coast that might be victims of tsunamis but not the earthquake prone population. Instead in the earthquake stricken area it is an information system for first responders so they know how widespread the damage is. Well, you can't have everything. This assumes of course that the earthquake does not destroy the power grid and telecommunications links.

The world's network of seismographs is thinly distributed over a broad area according to IBM and it says the use of hard drives will deliver vastly more data, basically because everyone has one.

SETI@home made much of the use of spare processing capacity of home PCs and now if you're an earthquake victim you can be a part of what we guess would be called Tsunami@home. µ



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