IBM donates software to track spread
SAN JOSE, Calif. – IBM announced
that it has made available, via the open source community, advanced
software that can help predict the transmission of diseases across
countries and around the globe.
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 Spatio-Temporal 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 showing 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 allows public health officials to model the spread of a disease
much like modeling a storm or hurricane – it’s like a health weather
map,” said Joseph Jasinski, IBM Distinguished Engineer and program
director, Healthcare and Life Sciences. “Until now, it wasn’t possible
to play out health crisis scenarios on a global scale. STEM gives us the
power to do that.”
A basic epidemiological model framework will be provided to software
developers, who can customize and configure the models based on their
specific requirements. These models, which involve multiple populations
and interactions between diseases, can help public health experts
develop more effective preparedness plans.
IBM’s donation is also intended to help facilitate collaboration between
governments, scientific researchers and other players in the public
health community. Users will have the ability to share the customized
epidemiological models that they create in addition to the plug-ins they
build using Eclipse.
STEM is one of the key technologies being utilized in the Global
Pandemic Initiative, a collaborative effort formed by IBM and over 20
major worldwide public health institutions to help prevent the spread of
The tool is also compatible with the standards-based interoperable
healthcare infrastructure developed by IBM and can query clinics,
hospitals, lab systems and other information sources for anonymized data
by disease, which enables a complete picture of the health of a
population with real-time data.
“Eclipse is a community that promotes innovation and collaboration,”
said Mike Milinkovich, executive director, Eclipse Foundation. ‘We are
thrilled to have IBM’s STEM technology contributed to Eclipse and look
forward to fostering more innovation on this important technology.”
To download STEM, please go to:
For more information about IBM, go to: