The integration of the latest advances in data science alongside expertise in plant breeding, agronomy and farming systems is key to unlocking a step-change improvement in UK crop production.
AI-based solutions in agriculture
AI-driven solutions are empowering next generation agriculture in this rapidly changing world. NIAB's new strategy in data sciences includes strengthening our AI-based agri-data and scientific computing capabilities, offering further innovative solutions and software tools for the Agri-Food sector as well as a broader crop research community.
Through our HPC, GPU cluster facilities and expertise in machine learning, NIAB leads the deployment of data science into practice. The Crop Science Centre, a collaboration with the University of Cambridge, will lead to global solutions that enable farmers and breeders to address major big-data challenges that we are facing every day. Through training big data collected from the field and our tailored learning architectures, NIAB is playing a major role in the future development of AI-based crop research and food production, endeavouring to help our customers, partners and collaborators shape the future together.
Applied crop informatics
The implementation and deployment of novel computational methods for the analysis of crop data is one of the priority research areas at NIAB. We are experts in the implementation of bioinformatics pipelines for gene annotation and variant analysis of vast datasets for large polyploid genomes, such as the hexaploid modern wheat and the octoploid strawberry. The sources and diversity of data types will continue to increase as devices to generate and collect data become essential tools in life-sciences research.
NIAB leads a consortium of six leading UK scientific institutions that has set-up a High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster dedicated to the development of new informatics tools and implementation of advanced analysis of crop genetics diversity data. Within the partner organisations alone, the bioinformatics resource will support the work of more than 400 scientists including early career researchers and PhD students.
Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and with support from the Scottish Government, the project has been led by NIAB, in partnership with James Hutton Institute, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Scotland’s Rural College, Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh and the Natural History Museum. The platform includes over 1,700 CPU cores, 15 terabytes of memory and 1.5 petabytes of storage capacity.