UC Santa Barbara’s National Center For Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) supports cross-disciplinary research that uses data to address major fundamental issues in ecology and related fields, and encourages the application of science to management and policy. NCEAS is a unique institution with an explicit mission to foster synthesis and analysis, turn information into understanding, and—through effective collaboration—alter how science is conducted. Its success is evident in the broad impact of its research and programs. This includes improving access to data, promoting a culture of scientific collaboration, and building the capacity of the scientific community through unique training initiatives.
The mission of the Earth Research Institute (ERI) is to support research and education in the sciences of our solid, fluid, and living Earth. While the scope of ERI research spans the breadth of Earth and Environmental sciences, the institute is organized around four major themes of Natural Hazards, Human Impacts, Earth System Science, and Earth Evolution. Each of these themes has been transformed in the past decade by both the increasing availability of high-resolution spatio-temporal data, and the emergence of complex physically-based modeling approaches for characterizing the dynamics of Earth and Environmental systems. ERI faculty and researchers are taking advantage of this convergence of big data and large-scale modeling to catalyzed new discoveries and understanding across campus, while ERI research computing staff are developing new infrastructure and data management tools for handling these computationally intensive approaches.
The UCSB SmartFarm project is computer science led effort focused on the use of data science with “The Internet of Things” (IoT) to improve sustainable agriculture, water usage and land management. Using novel systems and data science applications developed in the RACE Lab in the Computer Science Department, researchers have improved the analysis techniques commonly used by agronomists to analyze soil surveys. They have also been investigating new, data science based approaches to frost prevention and differential irrigation as ways of both saving water and sustaining agricultural yields. UCSB data science research also enables scientists and citizen scientists to automatically classify wildlife images gathered from ecological preserves for use my local and statewide land management agencies and environmental researchers. The “Where’s the Bear?” project combines new computer science and data science research with open source analysis software with IoT systems and public clouds to monitor wildlife in remote areas.