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Computational Sustainability Virtual Seminar Series

The Computational Sustainability Virtual Seminar Series will present talks by researchers and educators in Computational Sustainability, and is being sponsored by CompSustNet, with support from the National Science Foundation's Expeditions in Computing program.

To sign up for seminar announcements, send an email to with the word join as the subject (leave the message body empty).

For information about previous semesters, please see the past seminars list.

Seminar Schedule

Upcoming Talks
Mar 2, 2018, 1:30-2:30pm EST (UTC-5) Tanya Berger-Wolf, University of Illinois Computational Behavioral Ecology
Past Talks
Feb 16, 2018, 1:30-2:30pm EST (UTC-5) Ranveer Chandra and Sudipta Sinha, Microsoft Research FarmBeats: AI & IoT for Agriculture

Seminar Details

Ranveer Chandra and Sudipta Sinha, Microsoft Research

Feb 16, 2018, 1:30-2:30pm EST (UTC-5)

Title: FarmBeats: AI & IoT for Agriculture

Abstract: Data-driven techniques can boost agricultural productivity by increasing yields, reducing losses and cutting down input costs. However, these techniques have seen low adoption due to high costs of sensors, manual data collection and limited connectivity solutions. We are developing an end-to-end IoT platform for agriculture called FarmBeats. Our system enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. Our system design explicitly accounts for weather related power and Internet outages, which has enabled six month long deployments in two US farms.

Bio: Ranveer Chandra is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research where he is leading an Incubation on IoT Applications. His research has shipped as part of multiple Microsoft products, including VirtualWiFi & low power Wi-Fi in Windows since 2009, Energy Profiler in Visual Studio, and the Wireless Controller Protocol for XBOX One. Ranveer is leading the FarmBeats, battery research, and TV white space projects at Microsoft Research. He has published over 80 papers, and filed over 100 patents, with over 80 granted by the USPTO. He has won several awards, including best paper awards at ACM CoNext 2008, ACM SIGCOMM 2009, IEEE RTSS 2014, USENIX ATC 2015, and Runtime Verification 2016 (RV'16), the Microsoft Research Graduate Fellowship, the Microsoft Gold Star Award, the MIT Technology Review's Top Innovators Under 35, TR35 (2010) and Fellow in Communications, World Technology Network (2012). Ranveer has an undergraduate degree from IIT Kharagpur, India and a PhD from Cornell University.

Sudipta Sinha is a researcher at Microsoft Research. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and 2009, respectively. His research interests lie broadly in computer vision and robotics. He works on topics related to 3D scene reconstruction from images and video such as structure from motion, SLAM, stereo, optical flow, scene flow, multi-view stereo, photometric stereo, image-based localization and 6D object detection and tracking. He is interested in applications ranging from dense 3D scanning, augmented reality (AR) and UAV-based aerial photogrammetry and dense 3D mapping. He was a member of the UNC Chapel Hill team that received the best demo award at CVPR 2007 for one of the first scalable, real-time, vision-based urban 3D reconstruction systems. He has served as a program co-chair for 3DV 2017, was/is an area chair for 3DV 2016, ICCV 2017 and 3DV 2018 and has served on program committees at computer vision conferences. He is also an associate editor for the Computer Vision and Image Understanding (CVIU) Journal.

Tanya Berger-Wolf, University of Illinois

Mar 2, 2018, 1:30-2:30pm EST (UTC-5)

Title: Computational Behavioral Ecology

Abstract: Computation has fundamentally changed the way we study nature. New data collection technology, such as GPS, high definition cameras, UAVs, genotyping, and crowdsourcing, are generating data about wild populations that are orders of magnitude richer than any previously collected. Unfortunately, in this domain as in many others, our ability to analyze data lags substantially behind our ability to collect it. In this talk I will show how computational approaches can be part of every stage of the scientific process of studying animals, from intelligent data collection (crowdsourcing photographs and identifying individual animals from photographs by stripes and spots) to hypothesis formulation (by designing a novel computational framework for analysis of dynamic social networks), and provide scientific insight into collective behavior of zebras, baboons, and other social animals.

Bio: Dr. Tanya Berger-Wolf is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she heads the Computational Population Biology Lab. As a computational ecologist, her research is at the unique intersection of computer science, population biology, and social sciences. Berger-Wolf is also a co-founder of the conservation software non-profit Wildbook, which recently enabled a historic complete species census of the endangered Grevy's zebra, using photographs taken by ordinary citizens in Kenya.

Berger-Wolf holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring, including the US National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Association for Women in Science Chicago Innovator Award, and the UIC Mentor of the Year Award.