CEE Faculty to Study Sustainability in New Artificial Intelligence Center

Raymond Allen Jones Chair Glaucio Paulino

Frederick Law Olmstead Associate Professor Kari Watkins

A team from Georgia Tech has been awarded a five-year, $20 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the NSF Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute for Advances in Optimization (AI4OPT). AI4OPT will focus on bringing together the fields of artificial intelligence and mathematical optimization to achieve research breakthroughs in automated decision making that could not be attained separately.

The team is driven by use cases in several areas of significant societal impact: energy systems and the use of massive, distributed renewable resources and demand response programs; green supply chains to support the growth of e-commerce; resilience and sustainability, particularly in how to develop local food production; and circuit design and control for accelerating the development of new computing systems that can solve these evermore challenging problems.

The resilience and sustainability thrust is led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Yongsheng Chen. Chen is joined by fellow Environmental Engineering Professor John Crittenden and five other researchers from Georgia Tech and the University of Southern California.

The resilience and sustainability team is working to address challenges facing our food system, including projected nutrient cost and scarcity and the wide-spread eutrophication of water supplies.

The team, with the support of two USDA projects, is designing, building and operating pilot-testbeds to couple the water and nutrients in domestic wastewater with high-productivity Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) systems. Harnessing recent advances in wastewater treatment, food security, data analytics, and AI, the researchers are developing novel optimized technology-driven CEAs that can achieve high-areal vegetable productivity and increase food and nutritional security of urban communities with low operating cost and reduced energy consumption.

“AI4OPT, with its focus on AI and optimization, will create new pathways for novel tools that allow better engineering applications to benefit society,” said Raheem Beyah, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair. “This will allow engineers to build higher-quality materials, more efficient renewable resources, new computing systems and more, while also reinforcing the field as a career path for diverse students. The new institute complements the College’s commitment to the integration of AI in engineering disciplines.”