University of California Riverside wins $10M grant to develop environmental AI


The University of California Riverside (UCR), has won a $10 million grant to develop artificial intelligence that can be used for environmental and economic stability of agriculture in the Western U.S.

The project will focus on the Colorado River Basin and Salinas River Valley areas, which employ more than 500,000 people and generate roughly $12 billion annually in revenue, said UCR in a statement.

This Sustainable Agricultural Systems grant is one of nine given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) every year.

Elia Scudiero, a professional researcher in UCR’s Department of Environmental Sciences, is the project’s principal investigator. The following UC Riverside scientists are also involved in the project: Hoori Ajami, Ahmed Eldawy, Milt McGiffen, Connie Nugent, Vagelis Papalexakis, Alexander Putman, Monique Rivera, and Kurt Schwabe. Partner institutions include UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Arizona, Duke University, Colorado State University, and University of Georgia.

One of the major challenges of this project will be teaching AI algorithms to synthesize massive amounts of data from a wide variety of sources, says UCR. Vagelis Papalexakis, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, explained there is currently no one prevailing method for combining such radically different types of data.

The crux of the solution will involve inventing new statistical and algebraic models that find repeated and generalizable patterns between seemingly different types of data, according to UCR.

[Image courtesy: UCR]