IBM InfoSphere Streams and the Uppsala University Space Weather Project

Using IBM InfoSphere Streams, Uppsala University can analyze massive amounts of data to help it model and predict the behavior of the uppermost part of our atmosphere and its reaction to events in surrounding space and on the Sun.

The Uppsala Space Weather Project is a prime example of how Linux is used as the underlying engine that makes the world go. In fact, Linux has become so mainstream in such projects, we specifically had to ask about what infrastructure the project used. Even then, the answer wasn't “Linux”, but rather what version of Linux. Apparently, it was supposed to be obvious that the project would run in a Linux environment—that's the kind of presumptive attitude I like to see in the world!

Whether the information collected and analyzed by Uppsala will make a difference in how we weather Solar Cycle 24 remains to be seen. At the very least, we'll have more data about space weather than ever before in history. As to our little planet/dwarf planet/plutoid Pluto, sadly we'll have to wait until July 14, 2015 for more detailed information. The New Horizons satellite is racing there now to get more information on the little frozen body. It's hard to say how Pluto will be classified by the time it gets there, but nonetheless, we will be anxiously awaiting the data. When it finally arrives, it's pretty likely the data will be analyzed by Linux.

Shawn Powers is the Associate Editor for Linux Journal. He's also the Gadget Guy for, and he has an interesting collection of vintage Garfield coffee mugs. Don't let his silly hairdo fool you, he's a pretty ordinary guy and can be reached via e-mail at Or, swing by the #linuxjournal IRC channel on


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.