IBM and Carnegie Mellon University announce plans to create an IBM Smarter Infrastructure Lab at CMU.
and Carnegie Mellon
University July 29 announced their
intent to create an IBM Smarter
Infrastructure Lab at CMU "to undertake research and create technologies
to help cities, governments and industries worldwide develop smarter
IBM statement continued, "The new lab
is part of the Pennsylvania Smarter Infrastructure Incubator (PSII) and will be
located within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on the CMU
campus in Pittsburgh, Pa."
are for the lab to be operational in the fall of 2010, Wayne Balta, vice
president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety at IBM,
said in an interview with eWEEK.
"The IBM Smarter Infrastructure Lab at Carnegie
Mellon University will develop technologies that are consistent with IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, IBM's offerings in Business Analytics and
Optimization, and CMU's work within its Center for Sensed Critical
Infrastructure Research. The new lab will be a focal point and catalyst for
collaboration with like-minded research colleagues from IBM Research and across CMU including their
engineering, architecture, public policy and business schools. It will also be
an important resource at Carnegie Mellon University to educate and train future scientists and engineers to build smarter
"The lab is intended to drive innovation that can make the world's
physical infrastructure smarter by instrumenting it," Balta said. "As
we collectively figure out ways to deploy sensors or meters on physical
infrastructure-such as pipelines, railways, and bridges-we're going to have all
that instrumented. And all that data will come back through a common place.
Then we'll be able to look through that data, and look for patterns and see
things that are problem areas before a problem occurs. And if we can find ways
to foresee that problem we can avoid or prevent things like water main
"At the lab, researchers will collect
and analyze massive amounts of data about the physical condition and energy
efficiency of buildings, water pipelines and other infrastructure on which
governments, businesses and societies depend. One of the research initiatives
the lab will undertake is to explore physical infrastructures with innovative
digital sensor networks that will produce large amounts of new data that will
be acquired in real time and integrated with advanced analytical tools. Such
analysis will be directed to detect patterns, understand exposure to risks, and
help predict outcomes of management and operational decisions with greater
"At Carnegie Mellon, we've been
working for a number of years on interdisciplinary research to help better
manage critical infrastructure using advanced technologies. Our goal has been
to deploy a variety of sensors to collect significant amounts of new data that
can be analyzed and turned into actionable information so that people who
build, maintain or manage infrastructure can do so in a more efficient and
cost-effective manner," said James H. Garrett, Jr., the Thomas Lord
professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
"IBM's much appreciated support will help
establish a new, state-of-the-art lab where we will be able to showcase
research and technology development on our Pittsburgh campus. In addition to supporting us with
technology and analytical tools, our collaboration with IBM will also enable highly valuable interactions
with IBM researchers worldwide in this domain."
Government agencies at the municipal,
city, state and federal level along with businesses from diverse industry
sectors will be invited to partner with the lab. Some of these partners will
make data from their diverse infrastructures available to the lab while others
may provide complementary technologies or support additional research activity.
The lab will also be integrated with a new Collaboration and Distance Learning Center to be located in CMU's Department of
Electrical and Computer Engineering, where leaders can meet-either physically
or virtually-to learn how smarter infrastructures can make them more
"Making the infrastructure of our cities, communities, and industries more
instrumented, interconnected and intelligent can make it more sustainable from
both an economic and an environmental perspective," Balta said in a
statement. "With Carnegie Mellon
University's renowned reputation in engineering and IBM's
leadership regarding a Smarter Planet and business analytics, this new lab can
drive innovation and develop new technologies to help leaders worldwide
optimize their use of finite resources."