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China's Northeastern U Collaborates with Shenyang and IBM on 'Smart-City' Work

China's Northeastern University, the City of Shenyang, and IBM are collaborating in a research institute aimed at turning Shenyang, an industrial hub in northeast China with a concentration of heavy industry manufacturing, into a "smart city." Shenyang aims to be the country's model city for environment protection and development. The university has about 31,000 students. Shenyang has a population of about 7.2 million people.

"All of us at the Northeastern University are extremely excited as this collaboration offers us an opportunity of a lifetime to contribute to the environmental protection of Shenyang, China and other countries," said Chancellor Yicheng He. "We are grateful to the Shenyang government for giving us the opportunity, and are confident that our researchers and developers can improve their skills by working with the researchers from IBM's Research Lab in China and other countries."

The three entities have established the Shenyang Eco-City Research Institute to advance technology solutions that enable cities to conserve natural resources, reduce carbon emissions, and create a healthy environment. This "collaborator" will focus on researching solutions that reduce carbon emissions, conserve energy, manage water efficiently, effectively track food "from farm to fork," enhance the efficiency and intelligence of transportation and traffic systems, and create environmental emergency response plans.

To this collaboration, IBM will provide research scientists and technology solutions; the city will provide environmental experts as well as city data and insight; and Northeastern University will contribute research experts.

"We believe our collaboration with IBM and Northeastern University will play a critical role in meeting our city's environmental goals," said Yingjie Li, the senior mayor of Shenyang. "Furthermore, we expect this collaboration will help incubate environmental solutions for use in other cities in China, contributing to the national government agenda of building a harmonious society in China and even in other countries."

"Our aim is to gain new knowledge through real-world research to further advance our smart city technology solutions, so that we can improve our ability to help cities around the world meet their sustainability goals," said Thomas Li, director for IBM Research-China.

For example, the Institute will apply water management solutions from IBM Research to analyze data produced from the city's water systems, in order to gain real-time understanding about water quality and energy used for water management. Through this analysis, the city expects to be able to make more proactive decisions about water, cut down on expense and energy-usage related to water management, and maintain high water quality.

The collaboration will also work to improve communication between public and private sector entities and create processes for organizations in a city to share data to make environmental management and decision-making more effective through the use of IBM analytics and dashboard solutions.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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