Azure Worldwide is a strategic environmental design, development and marketing company that focuses on green site design/planning, eco-tourism and new media. Azure Worldwide's co-founders are environmentalist and social entrepreneur Philippe Cousteau, and Andrew Snowhite, a U.Va. environmental sciences alumnus.
Cousteau and Snowhite first learned about the Bay Game in 2009 and immediately recognized its potential to transform the way students, educators, academics, policy makers and corporations think about and act in watersheds. Since that time Azure Worldwide has been working in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research to further develop the Bay Game, to identify and pursue innovative Bay Game-related opportunities, and to help tell the powerful Bay Game story.
In preparation for a large Bay Game event in 2010, Cousteau noted that "the complex environmental, political and social issues facing the Chesapeake Bay require a creative approach to problem solving. Through the Bay Game, U.Va. has created a pioneering tool that considers both environmental impact and the wellbeing of real people and communities. This project gives people the knowledge to make a positive difference.”
And in a blog written for Larry King Live, Cousteau explains how the Bay Game can act as a revolutionary platform that connects the virtual world with the real world. He writes “the Game becomes a tool that can challenge players to build healthy environments not only in the virtual world, but also in the real one. My grandfather would certainly think this is an exciting project and that he would believe, as I do, that saving our world is one game we can’t afford to lose” (read the entire blog here).
IBM and the UVA Bay Game team are partnering to build a second simulation that will model at unprecedented detail the complex relation between human behavior and natural processes in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
UVA Bay Game/Analytics is a simulation-only model of the Bay that explicitly represents all 17M citizens and their activities as they relate to the health of the Bay. Modeling at this level of detail will enable a deeper level of understanding as to how human activities affect and are affected by the natural environment of the Chesapeake Bay. The resultant simulation model contains over one million equations and required nearly three hours to simulate 20 years into the future with a single set of assumptions. It will serve as a virtual laboratory for evaluating the watershed impact of new products, policies, and services, as well as individual and collective behavior change by Bay region residents.
This partnership involves the IBM Smarter Planet/Smart Cities Strategy & Solutions team and a UVA team led by Gerry Learmonth, professor in the department of systems and information engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The IBM World Community Grid, a collection of over 1.5 million computers worldwide, provides computational resources.
“I can think of few endeavors more important than making sure people across the globe have ready access to clean water,” notes Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM's Foundation. “'I would even suggest that it's a basic human right, and a hallmark of sophisticated and compassionate societies everywhere. That's why IBM is so incredibly proud to help scientists harness the resources of World Community Grid to make strides in this vital arena."