AI and digital tech to transform CSIRO’s digital landscape

Microsoft set to boost Australia’s national science agency with more tech.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies will be harnessed to tackle global challenges including illegal fishing and plastic waste, and to boost farming as part of a partnership between Australia’s national science agency — CSIRO, and Microsoft.

The agreement is designed to accelerate critical research that will use AI and machine learning to:

  • Tackle illegal fishing by analysing information gathered from high resolution cameras and underwater microphones to assist with fishing management in Australian marine reserves including the Great Barrier Reef, and detection of fishing with explosives in Indonesia.
  • Target marine debris by analysing videos of rivers and stormwater drains to identify and track garbage flows into waterways and inform intervention efforts, like placement of river rubbish traps and reverse vending machines where the public can recycle bottles and cans in return for cash.
  • Equip farmers with custom, digital insights from a diverse range of data sources, including sensors and satellites, but importantly deep domain knowledge integrated with analytics and modelling to provide insights on tactical and strategic decision making including soil condition, crop growth and farm management. This work will commence at CSIRO’s new agricultural research facility at Boorowa, NSW.

The venture will also contribute towards CSIRO’s managed data ecosystem and digital academy, projects to help transform CSIRO’s digital landscape with technologies, data capabilities and skill sets, and bring Microsoft’s digital technology to CSIRO’s wide portfolio of research.

Dr Larry Marshall chief executive at CSIRO said the partnership brought together decades of scientific expertise in solving real-world challenges and the latest breakthroughs in AI.

“This partnership is turning science and technology into real-world solutions for real people, from the Great Barrier Reef, to suburban waterways, to farms and environments around the country,” Dr Marshall said.

Steven Worrall managing director at Microsoft Australia said Microsoft’s research and investments in data-driven tools such as cloud and artificial intelligence are designed to tackle global challenges.

“The partnership follows previous initiatives like the Healthy Country Partnership, announced in November, which combines responsible AI and modern science with Indigenous knowledge to solve complex environmental management problems, and care for animal species and habitats within Kakadu National Park,” he said.




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