Illinois CS Professors Earn Digital Transformation Institute Grants in AI for Energy and Climate Security

6/14/2021 Aaron Seidlitz, Illinois CS

Arindam Banerjee and Jian Peng are part of DTI’s $4.4 million effort to fund 21 projects advancing breakthrough AI research for the energy sector.

Written by Aaron Seidlitz, Illinois CS

Two Illinois CS professors earned grants from the Digital Transformation Institute ( DTI) this month.

Arindam Banerjee
Arindam Banerjee DTI issued a call for proposals in February and received 52 submissions focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and digital transformation to advance energy efficiency and lead the way to a lower-carbon, higher-efficiency economy that will ensure energy and climate security. A rigorous peer review process led to 21 awards for research proposals to improve resilience, sustainability, and efficiency through such measures as carbon sequestration, carbon markets, hydrocarbon production, distributed renewables, and cybersecurity, among other topics.

The two projects associated with Illinois CS faculty include:

  • AI for Natural Catastrophes: Tropical Cyclone Modeling and Enabling the Resilience Paradigm - Arindam Banerjee, Founder Professor in Engineering
  • Quantifying Carbon Credit over U.S. Midwestern Cropland Using AI-Based Data-Model Fusion - Jian Peng, Associate Professor and Willett Faculty Fellow
  • Jian Peng
    Jian Peng
    Read full descriptions of all 21 projects awarded

“The world’s energy infrastructure will need to undergo radical changes to address the impact of global energy generation,” said Thomas M. Siebel (MS CS '85), chairman and CEO of C3 AI. “In the face of this crisis, the Institute is proud to bring together the best and brightest minds and provide direction and leadership to support objective analysis and AI-based, data-driven science for climate security.”

The Institute awarded a total of $4.4 million in cash from this call for proposals, the second call the Institute has released since the organization’s launch in March 2020. In addition to cash awards, research teams gain access to up to $2 million in Azure Cloud computing resources, up to 800,000 supercomputing node hours on the Blue Waters petascale supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, up to 25 million computing hours on supercomputers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and free, unlimited access to the C3 AI® Suite hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Established in March 2020 by C3 AI, Microsoft, and leading universities, the Digital Transformation Institute is a research consortium dedicated to accelerating the benefits of artificial intelligence for business, government, and society. The Institute engages the world’s leading scientists to conduct research and train practitioners in the new Science of Digital Transformation – operating at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, internet of things, big data analytics, organizational behavior, public policy, and ethics.

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This story was published June 14, 2021.