The new AIFARMS Institute in the United States is to develop a prototype autonomous farm of the future.
The National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes program awarded $ 20 million to the Center for Digital Agriculture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for the new Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management, and Sustainability (AIFARMS) Institute. The program is a joint effort between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The AIFARMS Institute is to explore foundational AI goals and innovative uses of AI to tackle important challenges in agriculture. At AIFARMS, scientists, Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, extension specialists, and diverse industry partners will address agricultural challenges such as labor constraints, animal health and welfare, environmental crop resilience, and soil health.
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AIFARMS will help develop a prototype autonomous “farm of the future,” anticipating a world in which low-cost AI-driven systems enable breeders and farmers to achieve large improvements in yields and profitability with minimal or even positive environmental impacts.
The institute combines deep research expertise with strong education and outreach programs in digital agriculture to grow a diverse workforce with AI skills, reach rural and other underserved populations, and create a global clearinghouse to foster community-wide collaboration in AI-driven agricultural research.
The AIFARMS institute is led by Vikram Adve, principal investigator and Donald B. Gillies Professor of Computer Science at Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering. Adve will work alongside 40 researchers from UIUC, University of Chicago, the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center, Michigan State University, Tuskegee University, USDA Agricultural Research Service, and Argonne National Laboratory.