IBM has made open source a research project that will augment the mapping of the spread of diseases on a global scale. Abbreviated as STEM (Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler), the tool can be used to create epidemiological models based on different regions, species, diseases, and several other factors to simulate the spread of the diseases. The software is available for use through the Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework Project, which is hosted at the Eclipse Foundation.
Article from seattlepi.com:
The program comes with standard data sets, such as geographical and population information, but it also lets users incorporate their own data into their models. The output of the program can be viewed in a variety of forms, including the Google Earth program, depending on the preferences of the user.
For more information:
IBM's ‘Weather Map' Software May Track Disease Paths (TechNewsWorld)
IBM contributes STEM (TechnologyNewsDaily)
IBM makes news by donating disease predictor to eclipse (ItBusinessEdge)
The software is customizable to the particular disease set that the researchers may be working on. It provides a platform for health experts to interact on a global scale and help them better model the spread of diseases, much like predicting the weather. The only difference is that the factors responsible for the change can be controlled. The move is part of IBM's Global Pandemic initiative and the ‘Big Blue' hopes that a community will build around the Framework to leverage its potential.
This contribution sets a great precedent to tackling global problems. It may be true that the issues threatening human existence may not be solved in a jiffy, but enabling a platform for large-scale collaboration does accelerate the collective effort.