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A Prediction Engine for the Planet

Speaker  Lucas Joppa

Affiliation  Duke University

Duration  00:40:20

Date recorded  26 September 2013

Like many technology companies, Microsoft has a focus on collecting and analysing information in order to better understand and serve consumers’ needs. In the Computational Ecology and Environmental Science group we have a similarly strong focus - but ours is on information about the future of the planet. In our group we are working on collecting the data, developing the science, engineering the software, and constructing the models necessary to piece together a prediction engine for the environment. Ours is a computational system capable of delivering predictions about key planetary parameters - from biodiversity to carbon, and from the climate to crop yields - in the browser and on the cloud. In this talk I will demonstrate what we have achieved in providing access to environmental data, predictions, and decision support tools ‘at the speed of thought’. There is much to be done, but we see a near future where such a prediction engine provides decision makers with the actionable information they need to preserve the planetary conditions we depend upon.

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