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New algorithm can save lives at sea

Any vessel or airplane accidents occurring at sea present emergency teams with a mammoth and time-limited challenge to locate survivors. But thanks to a new algorithm developed by an international research team – spearheaded by ETH Zurich and MIT – it will be possible for rescuers to gauge where people and objects are likely drift to following a disaster.

“Our work has a clear potential to save lives,” said Mattia Serra, former Ph.D. student at ETH Zurich and now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard.

Combining ocean data with ‘tools from dynamical systems theory’ – the team, led by George Haller, Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at ETH Zurich, created a mathematical model that proved in testing that it could generate the lifesaving information.

“Our hope is that this method will become a standard part of the toolkit of coast guards everywhere,” added Haller.

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Susan Robertson
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Susan is the co-founder of Innovators Magazine and a consultant for OnePoint5 Media. Susan is also a member of the UNFCCC-led Resilience Frontiers Nexus group and a board member of the APOPO Foundation UK.

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