ARIES Conference

From 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on June 2 at the 2009 USSEE Conference, Dr. Marta Ceroni, Dr. Ferdinando Villa, and Kenneth Bagstad will be giving parallel sessions on the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services project, also known as ARIES.  ARIES is a complex, web based program that utilizes artificial intelligence to aid policy makers and researchers by making the complex relationships between a regions various natural resources clearer.  Because of its innovative design, it is able to help fill in missing data by assessing and learning from the patterns that it sees, giving the user the best possible estimate of the actual information.  The project designers have also taken great measures to incorporate local information and sources as well, which gives a perspective overlooked when simply transferring known data to new situations.

ARIES is a government funded project and will not only enhance the ability of policy makers to plan appropriate uses of natural resources, but will also offer interesting insights into the ability of machines to learn and grow as well as link information intelligently.  The program will also bridge the gap between human and machine communication as it helps the user make informed and intelligent decisions while simultaneously compiling the effects of those decisions and communicating them back to the user.

Dr. Marta Ceroni, who is a research assistant professor at University of Vermont, will be chairing the sessions, and will also be presenting Conservation Planning and Management Using ARIES.  Dr. Ceroni has a wide range of experience in ecosystem assessment and environmental services and works with the ARIES project as well as the United Nations, Mexico, Brazil, Madagascar, and Thailand in various consulting capacities.

Dr. Ferdinando Villa, presenting A Demonstration of the ARIES System, is a software designer and engineer at the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics and is one of the project leads for ARIES.  He has extensive skills in both human and machine languages and has done a great deal of research in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), ecology, and ecoinformatics (which is the science of making natural objects understandable to machines and humans and then integrating that information to make it relevant).

Kenneth Bagstad is a graduate student with the Gund Institute and has received a B.A.  in botany and environmental studies as well as an M.S. and his research focused on the effects of groundwater pumping in southeastern Arizona on plants near the San Pedro River.  He has worked as an environmental consultant and has done research on tropical plant taxonomy, as well as participating in environmental restoration in the Midwest.  He will be presenting Linking Spatial Data and Ecological Knowledge to Map Ecosystem Services Provision, Use, and Benefit Flows.

The USSEE Conference starts in just a few days. We don’t want you to miss out on this exceptional opportunity. If you have not registered we are offering a weekend special rate of $325 for USSEE/ISEE members and $425 for non-members. This special is a savings of $30. Register at http://ussee.org/conference09/.  The weekend special registration ends at Midnight PST on Monday, May 25.