Artificial Intelligence Institute at UC Merced helping tackle agriculture challenges

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced received a $20 million federal grant to research artificial intelligence, which experts say can be vital for the Central Valley agriculture industry.

Associate professor John Abatzoglou said the hybrid approach has a grand goal.

"To improve outcomes in the face of continued drought continued water scarcity and this year is once again providing another stress test for the sort of conditions where it highlights the need to find solutions," Abatzoglou said.

The university is now part of a multi-institutional research collaboration tackling Artificial Intelligence or A-I, solutions for the ag industry's ongoing challenges.

"Issues related to water, labor, weather, climate and we are trying to bring it together. The frontiers of technology, AI, to these working lands," said Abatzoglou.

The institute is a collaborative effort involving faculty and scientist with backgrounds like computer science.

Four UC Merced professors will be co-investigators and part of the institute, and at the moment, a small group of grad students will be taking part in the research.

Doctorate student, Anshika Kandhway, is helping with the research. She said she's excited for her work to hopefully make a lifelong impact.

"Being here, being a part of all these types of fields they are working on, it's a great opportunity for the stakeholders and for me," said Kandhway.

The Ag-AID institute will be working hand in hand with local farmers during the four to five-year research project.

Abatzoglou said these efforts and collaboration are essential.

"We are going to be focusing on issues in the central valley, working with farmers, so there is a lot of things going on here, and it's great to see these projects," said Abatzoglou.

A new approach with high hopes for the future of agriculture nationwide.

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