Geospatial Research Initiative Speaker Series presents Hannah Kerner

October 20, 2023
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Whitaker Hall Room 218, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63130 (United States)
Image of Hannah Kerner

Friday October 20, 2023 | 11:00 AM Whitaker Hall Room 218

Unlocking the Potential of Planetary-Scale Machine Learning for a Sustainable Future

Remote sensing satellites capture peta-scale, multi-modal data capturing our dynamic planet across space, time, and spectrum. This rich data source holds immense potential for addressing local and planetary-scale challenges including food insecurity, poverty, climate change, and ecosystem preservation. Fully realizing this potential will require a new paradigm of machine learning approaches capable of tackling the unique character of remote sensing data. Machine learning approaches must be flexible enough to make use of the multi-modal multi-fidelity satellite data, process meter-scale observations over planetary scales, and generalize to the challenging diversity of remote sensing tasks. In this talk, I will present examples of how we are developing machine learning approaches for planetary data processing including self-supervised transformers for remote sensing data. I will also demonstrate how treating ML research and deployment as a unified approach instead of siloed steps leads to research advances that result in immediate societal impact, highlighting examples of how we are partnering directly with stakeholders to deploy our innovations in areas of critical need across the globe.

Hannah Kerner is an Assistant Professor of computer science in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence at Arizona State University. She is pioneering new machine learning techniques to harness the potential of remote sensing data to address global challenges like food insecurity and climate change. Her research aims to tackle barriers to realizing the benefits of machine learning in real-world applications that benefit society.  As the AI Lead for NASA’s agriculture programs, NASA Harvest and NASA Acres, she is deploying research methods in real applications across the globe; her projects have directly resulted in optimized agricultural planning, disaster response, and financial relief in various regions around the world. The impact of Kerner’s research was recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30 and the International Research Centre On Artificial Intelligence’s Top 10 projects solving problems related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals with AI.