Can Supercomputers Help Manage Crop Diseases?
Scientists at the University of Florida are trying to help stop the spread of Laurel Wilt Disease. Here’s Berea Etherton, a PhD student who is working to incorporate artificial intelligence into agricultural management practices.
Etherton…”Laurel Wilt Disease is a fungus which infects trees within lauraceae family, and that includes avocado trees. And this fungus moves primarily through a red Bay in Bertia beetles. And it's also capable of moving through root grafts. So if two trees are tied together through their roots, the fungus can move through that as well. And this fungus infects the tree and it decimates a tree. And then it's able to move to neighboring trees as well.”
Etherton and colleagues are using a supercomputer called the Hipergator to analyze the spread of the disease.
Etherton…”So when we decided we wanted to model Laurel Wilt Disease in the Miami region, we have over a thousand different avocado groves that we have to look at. So University of Florida's Hipergator allows us to take in really memory intensive datasets, and run it through them at a high speed. So, using UFs supercomputer was almost necessary when it came to this problem.”
This is one example of how modern technology is helping agricultural producers.