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Managing Pests with AI-Powered App in Australia

Image Credits: CSIRO, Press Release.

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop an app that will help keep brown marmorated stink bugs out of Australia, an invasive species with the potential to wipe out more than 300 different species of plants if it made it past quarantine.

The app, being developed for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), is based on a prototype co-funded by an American multinational technology corporation to identify seeds of noxious weedy daisies, using AI to identify stink bug species based on thousands of specimens held in CSIRO’s National Research Collections Australia. DAWE is now trialling the app in its quarantine stations.

The CSIRO Chief Executive stated that collaborative partnerships were a powerful way to turn new technologies into real solutions to the nation’s greatest challenges, like protecting our native flora. He noted that Australia’s growing AI capability can be among the best in the world, but it doesn’t mean anything until we translate it into solutions that make life better for everyone, like ensuring our increasingly interconnected world doesn’t jeopardise the region’s biosecurity. This app will help biosecurity officers tell invasive species apart from our own native species, a uniquely Australian solution to a unique Australian challenge, he added.

The CSIRO taxonomist noted the app demonstrated the practical applications of having a rich insect database, “We’re taking detailed digital images of the stink bugs in our insect collection, including using a 3D imaging system to take photographs from many angles.” He added that by using a smartphone camera to zoom in or out and look at the bug from different angles, the AI model in the app identifies the species and shows how likely it is to be correct.

The app also has species profiles with example images and species information. Users can record a photo of the bug, its identification and geographic coordinates and local time to help build out the database and inform biosecurity responses.

The National Technology Officer of the Australia branch of an American tech giant stated that since establishing its partnership with CSIRO in June 2020, the company’s focus has been on supporting CSIRO in their scientific and research work.

By leveraging the company’s AI tools and Image classification technology, CSIRO has been able to rapidly build the stink bug detection models needed to help confidently identify the brown marmorated stink bug. All whilst developing new skills in automated machine learning and cloud automation tools.

While Australia has around 600 named native stink bug species, as well as several thousand more undescribed species, the brown marmorated stink bug is native to China and has spread to many countries around the world, where it is a threat to crops such as apples, stone fruits, hazelnuts and grains.

It breeds in large groups in well-lit areas, such as car plants, then pregnant females hibernate in dark places, such as cars awaiting export. This can cause infestations in new countries where they lack specialised natural enemies to keep their populations in check. The research team behind the app hopes to expand the work in two different directions. They want to add AI models for more types of biosecurity threats, beyond stink bugs, and we also hope to involve the public in biosecurity work so that people can identify and report pests and weeds.

 

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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