Past Awardee

Research on Computer-integrated Production Agriculture Technology

Qin Zhang
Qin Zhang

College: Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Award year: 2002-2003

Recent advances in production agriculture have moved U.S. agriculture from a state of broad scale mechanization to a state of mechanization with precision. The widely use of computer in agriculture is further evolving U.S. agriculture into an "information agriculture" era. The core of information agriculture will be a computer-integrated production agriculture technology. It shall consist of five major areas: precision agriculture technologies, agribusiness optimization, operational information management, and system integration. To make those individual technologies useful to agricultural producers, multi-disciplinary research on the computer-integrated production agriculture technology is essential. This proposal is to initialize the computer-integrated agricultural technology research at UIUC. A multi-disciplinary research group, consisting of agronomist (Prof. Hoeft of Crop Sciences), economist (Prof. Hornbaker of Agricultural & Consumer Economics), engineers (Prof. Sreenivas of General Engineering and Prof. Zhang of Agricultural Engineering), and computer scientist (Dr. Welge of NCSA), will be teamed to perform the technology pioneering research work during the NCSA Fellow research project period. Qin Zhang and Robert Hornbaker will actively participate in the Fellows program.

The overall goal of this proposed program is to establish a computer-integrated system technology for production agriculture applications. The goal of the proposed NCSA Fellows program is to define the conceptual infrastructure of the proposed technology. An extensive exchange between faculty and researchers from both NCSA and the Colleges of ACES and COE will be involved in the conceptual design phase to ensure the applicability of the designed conceptual infrastructure. Following the success on the conceptual design, the research will focus on the development of a few core information-processing algorithm to validate this defined conceptual infrastructure. In this proposed project, the algorithm development will focus on an information classification algorithm, an information fusion algorithm, and an attributes tracking algorithm for analyzing the production information. The expected outcome from this research will include two to three technical papers on the conceptual development of computer-integrated agricultural systems technology and on the developed core information processing algorithms. Seminars will be given at NCSA on this research to stimulate the inter-disciplinary exchanges.

The proposed project will initialize the computer-integrated agricultural systems technology research. The multi-disciplinary collaboration and academic exchange between faculty of NCSA and the Colleges of ACES and COE will be continued after the completion of the NCSA Fellows project. Additional external funds will be brought in to support the expended research in the development of computer-integrated agricultural systems technology.