coondoggie brings us a NetworkWorld story about IBM's efforts to use complex algorithms to manage responses to natural disasters. Researchers are making use of recent increases in processor speed and algorithm efficiency to develop a scalable, flexible model capable of handling the complicated planning involved in reacting to a crisis. Quoting: "'We are creating a set of intellectual properties and software assets that can be employed to gauge and improve levels of preparedness to tackle unforeseen natural disasters,' says Dr. Gyana Parija. 'Most real-world problems involve uncertainty, and this has been the inspiration for us to tackle challenges in natural disaster management.' In the case of flooding, for example, the stochastic programming model would use various flood scenarios, resource supply capabilities at different dispatch locations, and fixed and variable costs associated with deployment of various flood-management resources to manage various risk measures. By assigning probabilities to the factors driving outcomes, the model outlines how limited resources can meet tomorrow's unknown demands or liabilities. In this way, the risks and rewards of various tradeoffs can be explored, IBM said."