IBM’s research division has announced that they are to collaborate with the World Health Organisation in supplying software to help combat and predict pandemics.

IBM have promised to develop two systems; an Interoperable Healthcare Information Infrastructure – a technology to help clinicians and researchers share information and health data on infectious diseases.

Big Blue will also develop an epidemiological modelling program that plugs into the data collected and projects how diseases can spread using geographic data and travel and migration patterns. Elements of both systems will be open-source.

Samuel J Palmisano, chief executive of IBM, said: "The threat of a pandemic is a definitively global phenomenon. Our response must be similarly global, and must reply – as with so many other major issues we face today – on open, collaborative innovation."

The two schemes are part of a collaborative initiative called ‘Project Checkmate’, in which IBM and the Scripps Institute, a non-profit biomedical research organisation based in San Diego, will conduct research into the way influenza viruses mutate. IBM will lend its BlueGene supercomputer to the project.