Kaiyu Guan Charts the Course from Blue Waters to Delta

October 20, 2022

National Center for Computing Applications News: Kaiyu Guan, Blue Waters Associate Professor with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a researcher with a mission; of helping create tools so farmers can check on and manage their crops – every single field – in real-time to maintain a healthy and productive growth cycle. But simply reaching that goal isn’t enough. Guan also hopes to achieve co-sustainability of environment quality and food security. It’s quite the task, and he’s been using the supercomputing resources at NCSA to tackle the issues surrounding both aspects of his mission, one piece of research at a time. He’s also in the unique position of being one of the researchers at UIUC who’s had experience using NCSA’s retired supercomputer, Blue Waters, and its new cutting-edge GPU-processing resource, Delta.

“What really makes our modeling solution exciting,” Guan said, “is that we use the most advanced observations from satellites to constrain a powerful agroecosystem model, and we demonstrate that this can achieve the highest performance in estimating different carbon components. This is like creating a weather forecasting capability, but for predicting the carbon budget of every farm in the landscape.”

Guan’s team published a paper on the results of their work in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology and has leveraged their research in several more projects and papers.

“This is state of the art for quantifying carbon budget and carbon credit,” Guan said. “We want to show people what is possible and set a high standard going forward. We let rigorous science speak for itself. I believe that’s the most powerful way to say things as scientists.”

Read the article.

Professor Guan’s carbon-measuring work is funded in part by the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute.