American Univesity of Beirut

Transforming Agriculture Through the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data Analytics

​Hadi Jaafar, assistant professor, Agriculture, FAFS, Mazen Saghir, Mariette Awad and Hazem Hajj, associate professors, Electrical and Computer Engineering, MSFEA, and Fatima Abu Salem, Associate Professor, Computer Sciences, FAS, presented in a seminar on “Transforming Agriculture Through the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data Analytics” at FAFS on February 20.

Smart farming employs ground or remote sensors, information and communication technology systems, and actuators to monitor and manage crops, livestock, and natural resources. Together, these technologies are transforming agriculture by increasing production while reducing costs, energy, and waste. Many smart systems employ rule-based schemes that use static thresholds, limited measurements, or published averages. The proliferation of the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT), big data analytics, and artificial intelligence, smart systems increasingly rely on massive data sets to quickly learn, adapt, and react to changing conditions. This seminar introduced these new technologies with a focus on their applications to smart farming. At the same opportunity, available expertise and resources at AUB were presented, with the aim of encouraging inter-faculty and interdisciplinary collaborations in smart farming.

About the speakers: 

  • Dr. Mazen A. R. Saghir, associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA), AUB. Professor Sagher earned his BE in Computer and Communication Engineering from AUB in 1989; he also holds M.A.Sc. (1993) and Ph.D. (1998) degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto. Dr. Saghir’s research interests include embedded systems design, IIoT and edge computing, and hardware acceleration of machine learning algorithms. He is a senior member of the IEEE.
  • Dr. Mariette Awad, associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, MSFEA, AUB, received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2007 from the University of Vermont, and was a visiting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Intel Mobile Group, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was invited by Computer Vision Centre (CVC) labs, Google, and Qualcomm to present her work on machine learning and image processing and authored the book Efficient Machine Learning (2015). Dr. Awad has numerous conference presentations, journal publications, and research grants. An active member of IEEE, Dr. Awad is also a reviewer for IEEE transactions. Prior to joining academia, she was a wireless product engineer with IBM System and Technology group in Vermont. Her technical leadership and innovative spirit have drawn the recognition of management in the form of several business awards and multiple patents at IBM.
  • Dr. Hadi Jaafar has international expertise in irrigation engineering and water resources management. An expert in design and rehabilitation of irrigation projects, he serves as an expert witness in water rights adjudication and estimation of water use requirements for government agencies in the USA and in the use of GIS-SCADA for water networks. Dr. Jaafar has served as project manager, principal investigator, and technical specialist on feasibility studies; he has provided detailed design, construction plans, and specifications for irrigation and hydrology projects in the USA and the Middle East. He is an international consultant, known and respected for expertise in remote sensing and GIS applications for agriculture, water and food security, and dam feasibility.
  • Dr. Fatima Abu Salem, associate professor, Computer Science Department, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), holds a PhD in Computing from the University of Oxford. She is currently working with data science and big data processing for the public good, most notably, in identifying fake news relating to the Syrian conflict, in predicting demand on primary health care centers in Lebanon, in analyzing the resilience of the Lebanese power grid in the face of attacks or failures, and in using machine learning to explore Syrian refugee mobility through aggregated mobile phone records from Turk Telekom. Dr. Abu Salem’s main research interests are interdisciplinary and focus on parallel and cache efficient algorithm engineering with applications in Computer Algebra. She has served in professional positions related to Supercomputing, including as secretary of SIAM’s activity group on Super computing, and on the committees of related conferences. She is associate editor for Elsevier's Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing.
  • Dr. Hazem Hajj, associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, MSFEA, AUB, and senior member of IEEE, was a principal engineer at Intel Corporation, before joining AUB in 2008. He earned a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds a Bachelor’s degree, with distinction, from AUB. Dr. Hajj is the recipient of numerous academic and industrial awards; his research interests focus on AI platforms with special interest in opinion mining, context aware sensing, and platforms for accelerating machine learning. Professor Hajj has published more than 100 research articles.

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