Beijing’s Newest Weapon Against Smog: A Supercomputer

IBM already conquered Jeopardy with its supercomputer. Now the tech giant, which has become one of the leading pursuers of artificial intelligence, wants to use that technology to fight Beijing’s air pollution crisis. The company’s researchers are currently testing a computer system that can predict the city’s pollution levels 72 hours in advance. It will be 30 percent more precise than conventional methods of predicting air quality, a leading researcher told Technology Review. Using old data from the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, IBM is training the machine to forecast future patterns while taking into account changes in industrial activity, traffic congestion, and the weather—a process dubbed “adaptive machine learning.” Over time, researchers hope the system can make accurate predictions up to 10 days in advance. That will help Beijing generate…


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