Simone Silvestri, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, is Co-Principal Investigator on a three-year project awarded $1.5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation. Asheesh Singh, professor in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University, is the Principal Investigator.
With a goal to form a community of Smart and Connected Farms (SCFs), this innovative project aims to establish a Smart Integrated Farm Network for Rural Agricultural Communities (SIRAC). The goal is to improve timely data sharing and knowledge exchange among the farming community for coordinated responses to production threats (weed, disease, insect, pest, weather), ensuring profitability. The project will develop a flexible, scalable and efficient communication infrastructure for SCFs; provide privacy-preserving data analytics across farms for community-level decision-making; establish community of practice to facilitate learning and feedback among farmers/scientists, trusted data and technology acceptance; and demonstrate economic benefit to SCFs.
The novelty of SIRAC project lies in the holistic integration of multiband dynamic spectrum access (DSA) technology for rural connectivity and community decision-making, with social translational research to address adoptability, trust, and risk preferences, and economics research to benefit farmers. Mobile crowd sensing will improve trustworthiness and decision accuracy of information spread. Fundamental contributions involve the development of novel routing algorithms, privacy-preserving machine learning techniques, and affordable communication infrastructure with unlicensed multiple spectrum bands to create SCF community for efficient data sharing. Translational research model with behavioral experiments will identify social and economic incentives for farmers/stakeholders leading to technological innovations.
The SIRAC framework has the potential to provide tremendous impacts, as it can be adapted and replicated in different rural areas. The proposed (rural) communications technology will apply to a broad range of smart and connected communities. The assessment of social and economic incentives for farmers and other stakeholders will facilitate participation in SCF network. The project will motivate next generation of scientists and farmers to contribute to smart agricultural communities with innovative solutions.
The project contributes to Silvestri's work in applying novel communication technologies to cyber-physical systems towards solving interdisciplinary research problems. He received the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award earlier this year.
Silvestri joined the UK College of Engineering faculty in 2017.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Number 1952045. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.