SAN JOSE, Calif. -- IBM (NYSE:IBM - News) today announced that it has made available an advanced software technology that can help predict the transmission of diseases across countries and around the globe to the open source community. The tool will aid scientists and public health officials in understanding and planning more efficient responses to health crises, ultimately providing new tools for protecting population health. The software, known as Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM), is now available for use through the Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework Project (OHF), hosted at the Eclipse Foundation, the non-profit foundation that guides the Eclipse open source community.
STEM represents nearly three years of research spanning the globe with scientists from IBM's Almaden, Haifa and Watson labs contributing to its creation. The technology is designed to enable the rapid creation of epidemiological models for how an infectious disease, such as avian influenza or dengue fever, is likely to geographically spread over time. STEM, which runs on any operating system, creates a graphical representation of the spread of a disease based on a variety of parameters such as population, geographic and macro-economic data, roadmaps, airport locations, travel patterns and bird migratory routes around the world.
"STEM will allow public health officials to model the spread of a disease much like modeling a storm or hurricane -- it allows us to produce a public health 'weather map' for the spread of a particular disease," said Joseph Jasinski, IBM Distinguished Engineer and program director, Healthcare and Life Sciences. "Until now, it has been difficult to simulate health crisis scenarios on a global scale. STEM gives us the power to do that."