IBM unveils "stream computing" software

By Molly Merrill
09:49 AM
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IBM executives  are touting the company's new “stream computing” software as representing “a significant advancement in information technology.” 

IBM System S, which was released on Wednesday, has been in the works for more than 20 years. The software uses a new streaming architecture and mathematical algorithms that can analyze thousand of simultaneous data streams in real-time.

Officials say organizations, like those in the healthcare industry, will benefit from the technology's ability to help them improve decision-making. Traditional computing models retrospectively analyze stored data and don't have the ability to continuously process massive amounts of incoming data streams, they say.

"System S software is another example of IBM helping clients through our long-term investments in business analytics and advanced mathematics," said John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research.  "The ability to manage and analyze incoming data in real time, and use it to make smarter decisions, can help businesses and other enterprises differentiate themselves."

IBM and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) are using testing System S to help doctors detect subtle changes in the condition of critically ill premature babies.  The software ingests a constant stream of biomedical data, such as heart rate and respiration, along with clinical information about the babies. Currently physicians monitoring "preemies" rely on a paper-based process that involves manually looking at the readings from various monitors and getting feedback from the nurses providing care. Officials say this technology will help physicians detect life-threatening conditions such as infection, up to 24 hours in advance, by observing changes in physiological data streams.

IBM is making System S trial code available at no cost to help clients better understand the software's capabilities and how they can take advantage of it for their organization.  This trial code includes developer tools, adapters and software to test applications.