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Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Department Seminars

December 10, 2020

Finding Solutions for Our Water Resources: Perspectives, current research, and future directions

One of the greatest challenges in our world today is the impairment of water quality by pollutants from agricultural, rural, urbanizing, and urban lands. For example: while surface and subsurface drainage systems are important components of agricultural production in areas with poorly drained soils, these systems provide accelerated conduits for nutrients and other contaminants to receiving water bodies; rapid urbanization is resulting in the conversion of forest and pastures into urban lands leading to accelerated loadings of sediments and associated pollutants to receiving waters; increasing human populations in coastal areas are causing increasing pressures on associated ecosystems particularly on water resources in estuarine areas; substantial changes are expected at global, regional, and local scales due to a rapidly changing climate, with anticipated deleterious impacts on water quality and quantity. On an annual basis, the economic impact of water quality impairments runs into the billions of dollars including cost of water treatment; clean-up costs; costs to human health; and, losses in revenues from tourism and fishing. Alongside these are losses of the intangibles—such as educational, spiritual, and inspirational benefits—associated with our water resources. These challenges do, however, bring about opportunities for interdisciplinary research to develop sustainable solutions to current problems impacting our water resources. Recent efforts in this regard are discussed in this presentation and some areas for future research are highlighted.

Presented By Dr. Margaret Gitau
Associate Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University

Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


December 15, 2020

Modern Computational Data Science: Perspectives and Projects from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the premier US Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world by aircraft operations and the tenth busiest by passenger traffic. In this talk, Dr. Caleb Phillips, senior scientist and group manager for the data analysis and visualization group at NREL will discuss current and ongoing data science applications at NREL and highlight the Athena project, a U.S. DOE-funded project to use data-driven analysis and optimization of the help understand pathways to efficient technologies and operations at US airports and seaports. Dr. Phillips will be joined by Robert Horton, Vice President for Environmental Affairs at DFW airport to discuss the ongoing collaboration and other data-focused efforts at the airport.

Presented By:

Robert Horton
Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Dr. Caleb Phillips
Acting Group Manager III Data Science National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


January 8, 2021

Research Program Overview

Presented By Vivek Sharma and Ying Zhang

Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


February 12, 2021

From Trash to Treasure: Solutions for Valorizing Agroindustrial Waste with Atmospheric Cold Plasma

Presented By Janie McClurkin Moore

Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


March 9, 2021

Presented by Joshua S. Fu, Ph.D., BCEEM
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, The University of Tennessee

Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


April 9, 2021

Global and Combinatorial Optimization

Presented by Panos M. Pardalos
Paul and Heidi Brown Preeminent Professor in the University of Florida Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Time: 10:00 P.M. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


May 13, 2021

UI Center for Digital Agriculture and AI Institute

Presented by Vikram S. Adve
Donald B. Gillies Professor of Computer Science University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Director, AIFARMS National AI Institute; Co-Director, Center for Digital Agriculture



Past Seminars

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September 10, 2020

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Presented By José Principe, Ph.D.

This seminar will provide a brief perspective of the information revolution and its underlying technologies. Dr. Principe will also present an evolutionary perspective of why the information age became so important and outlines the impact on human society and enterprises.

September 11, 2020

Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture Roundtable Discussion

Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Artificial Intelligence Initiative Vision
Presented By Dr. Damon Woodard

An Introduction to the IoT4Ag Engineering Research Center
Presented by Dr. David Arnold

October 29, 2020

The Network Structure of Regional Livestock Trade in West Africa

Presented by Valerie Valerio

In West Africa, livestock production, distribution, and processing support the livelihoods of more than 20 million people. Despite its economic and regional integration relevance, intraregional livestock trade remains understudied in West Africa, partly because official trade figures do not capture it well. In this research, live animal trade in West Africa is modeled as a network of animal movements between localities. Using a trade movement survey database collected by the CILSS, the regional network of animal movements is mapped and characterized, and the important implications of its structure – particularly in the face of border closures due to COVID-19 containment measures – are discussed.

November 19, 2020

AI and Data-driven Decision Support System for High-value Crop Production Systems

Presented By Dr. Reza Ehsani
Professor, Mechanical Engineering - University of California, Merced

Over the last decade, growers have had access to a significantly more diverse set of environmental, soil, and plant data, in addition to data that is generated by sensors available on tractors and field equipment. However, most often, these data are not fully utilized to help growers to make better management decisions or to reduce their costs by increasing their productivity. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help to better utilize the available data. AI has many applications in agriculture and has the potential to significantly change how farming operations will be conducted in the future. This presentation shows how AI and a data-driven decision support system can be used in high-value crop production systems. Examples of applications will be given of sensors for biotic and abiotic stress detection, mechanical harvesting systems, and labor management, as well as the design of robotic harvesters.

Dr. Reza Ehsani is a part of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture (IoT4Ag). Over two dozen researchers across Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of California Merced, and the University of Florida work within this center to address food, energy, and water security through advanced agricultural technologies.