Artificial Intelligence and the Environment

This was the first International event on AI and the Environment. The previous year, there was a Workshop on AI and the Environment at the American conference AAAI, chaired by Cindy Mason

About the Image:  Cover for Workshop Proceedings Design idea by Cindy Mason (who claims the workshop and cover were inspired after dozing off while reading Douglas Adams) and built by Ken Linde.

Robots are monitoring  every aspect of our earth, collecting data on our oceans, the sky and deserts, as well as making  new scientific discoveries and understanding phenomena from earth orbiting satellites.  Intelligent software agents, more advanced than Jeopardy's Watson,  are monitoring and filtering the vast stores of collected data, watching for anomalies, signs of danger or other patterns that may be useful.   They watch for signs of dam seepage, monitor stress of coal mine roofs, and the levels of water among interconnected waterways.   Eric Jones, from New Zealand, built a software agent to monitor meterological data and warn us about potentially dangerous weather.  Cindy Mason (now at Stanford and Kurzweil Technologies) created intelligent software agents to detect signs of nuclear testing across the globe by monitoring vast seas of data collected from global sensor networks .These AI systems are the next generation of earth’s caretakers and earth scientists.  They are at the heart of the work on sustainability, climate and the future of the only planet we humans can presently live on, Earth.    If you have any doubts about this consider that just last week, while we were creating this web page, submersible robots were launched from a boat off of San Pedro California to sample water columns, to understand why a historical number of sea lion pups are washing up starving and dehydrated.   On this web page you will find the contents of the first and second workshop on AI and the Environment.       The focus of the workshop is on technology.   Admittedly,  a big part of environmental recovery will involve collaboration among companies, politicians and environmentalists.     AI cannot solve that problem.   But it does seem we cannot do the job of recovery without it.   If the parties involved agree or find a solution, perhaps social media and AI earth scientists will do the job.

The collection of papers here are special and of importance because they document the first efforts that brought together AI and the Environment.   They represent a number of "firsts" in their fields, such as the Antarctic submersible that discovered there are species of organisms living under the ice in McMurdo Bay (Carol Stoker and team), or the first group to look at data of The Blue Marble from a new NASA satellite called EOS DIS (Short, et. al.)  The work on EOS DIS was the first time we had a chance to follow up on the vision of Earth and our selves made by the crew of Apollo 13.  It changed everything.   Following the first two workshops the binding of AI and the Environment expanded in Europe thanks to the efforts of Cortes and Sanchez-Marre,

Funding: The first workshop was held in the US  with the help of an AI organization called the American Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and NASA Ames and proposal funding for the primary scientist, Cindy Mason, was through the National Research Council, for which we are grateful.    The second workshop was international and held in Montreal, Canada, it was sponsored by The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, NASA Ames Research Center, and The American Meterological Society, Cindy Mason, and Henry Lieberman.

Below you find the papers we have scanned and placed online for sharing with others.   If you are an author and wish to submit an updated version of your paper or related work, for either of the workshops, please send to cindymason@media.mit.edu   or cmason@steam.stanford.edu. Thanks to Roger King and Henry Lieberman for support in creating online versions of the workshops for generations to come.

Original Call for Papers

Montreal, Canada
August, 1995

Sponsored by The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, NASA Ames Research Center, and The American Meterological Society

This workshop brings together two diverse groups of people with the aim of understanding the potential and problems of applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to environmental studies and engineering:

  • Researchers and scientists whose goal is to increase our understanding of physical, chemical and biological processes - particularly researchers studying atmospheric, climatic, ecological, oceanic, and solid-earth processes - as well as environmental engineers concerned with problems regarding pollution control, natural disaster planning, and hazardous materials management.

  • AI researchers and practitioners whose goal is to develop and engineer methods for automation and information processing required by environmental applications; for example, novel methods for acquiring sensed data (e.g., Antarctic robotic explorers), systems that assist in processing, archiving, and distribution of increasingly diverse and voluminous sensed data (e.g., as in Earth Observing Systems), modeling earth processes, and planning in data analysis or hazardous waste disposal.

  • The workshop provides an important and timely forum for participating researchers, scientists, and engineers to explore the novel problems environmental studies present, and to examine the fruits of traditional and non-traditional Artificial Intelligence technologies as applied to environmental studies and engineering. The objective of the workshop is to foster discussion, bringing together the experience base of environmental scientists and engineers with the information handling experience of AI theorists and practitioners.

    The workshop will focus on two topics:

  • AI in Environmental Sciences - including hydrological, oceanic and ecological systems studies, earth and climate process prediction, and atmosphere studies.
  • AI in Environmental Engineering - pollution control, natural disaster planning, hazardous materials management
  • Papers

    All the papers as a single PDF file

    A Qualitative Modeling Approach to Algal Bloom Prediction Ulrich Heller, Peter Struss, Francois Guerrin, Waldir Roque

    An Intelligent Assitant for Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Verification Cindy L. Mason

    Biodiversity and Ecosystems Network (BENE) -- the challenge of building distributed informtics network for biodiversity Leland Ellis, Andrew Jackson, Steve Young

    Combining Human Assessment and Reasoning Aids for Decision-making in Planning Forest Fire Fighting Paolo Avesani, Francesco Ricci , Anna Perini

    Introducing Boundary Conditions in Semi-quantitative Simulation Giorgio Brajnik

    KnowledgeBased Land Information Manager and Simulator (KBLIMS) For Forested Ecosystem Simulation Management Vincent B. Robinson, D. Scott Mackay

    Objects in the Intelligent Information Fusion System Keith Wichman

    Support for Argumentation in Natural Resource Management Mandy Haggith

    The Collage/Khoros Link: Planning for Image Processing Tasks Amy L. Lansky, Mark Friedman, Lise Getoor, Scott Schmidler, Nick Short Jr.

    The Environmental Information Mall Michael N. Huhns, Munindar P. Singh, Gregory E. Pitts

    The Green Browser: A Proposal of Green Information Sharing and Life Cycle Design Tool Yasushi Umeda, Tetsuo Tomiyama, Takashi Kiriyama, Yasunori Baba

    Water Pollution Prediction with Evolutionary Neural Trees Byoung-Tak Zhang, Peter Ohm, Heinz Muhlenbein


    Cindy Mason
    cindymason@media.mit.edu