At the Applied Solutions workshop this weekend, I had the opportunity to briefly interview Dr. Peter Williams, CTO of IBM's Big Green Innovations division. Dr. Williams is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of new IBM products designed specifically to address global-scale environmental issues — like traffic congestion, inefficiencies in water management and the energy grid — issues that require a new level of computing and information technology in order to be properly understood and managed.

Here he lays out the five main focus areas of the Big Green division:

  1. Energy efficiency & carbon reduction: Helping industry reduce energy losses in the manufacturing process.
  2. Aternative energy includes two areas, smart grid systems an leveraging IBM's semiconductor know-how to improve the material components of solar cells.
  3. Intelligent transportation: Traffic pricing scheme and grid flow analysis.
  4. Computation modeling for researchers focusing on climate patterns, pandemics, agricultural supply chains.
  5. Water management at three scales:  The natural scale (engineering entire watersheds), the utility scale (managing quality, discharge, energy use), and the enterprise scale, working with companies to better manage their water resources.