It's called "precision agriculture," and it is essentially weather modeling at a hyper-local level. IBM researchers say they developed the technology to complement forecasts produced by the National Weather Service, leveraging their data to pinpoint a much smaller area.
IBM scientist Lloyd Treinish says precision agriculture collects and analyzes both historical and real-time data like weather, soil and air quality and crop maturity. He hopes farmers can use this predictive data to make smarter decisions.
"The idea is that farmers with that information can schedule their irrigation more effectively," Treinish said. "You really want to irrigate only in those areas where it is not going to rain and you want to avoid areas of irrigation where it will rain."
Treinish says the technology also has applications beyond the farm, including in emergency management to give people a better warning about floods and mudslides. It also can be used by utility companies to better predict which areas will lose electricity after a severe storm.
IBM's precision agriculture uses so-called "Deep Thunder" technology, which they say is based on the same processors that power IBM's artificial intelligence computer system "Watson."
For more information, visit: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/food.
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