University of Waikato
University of Waikato will receive $13 million (GST exclusive) over 7 years for the data science programme “Time-Evolving Data Science / Artificial Intelligence for Advanced Open Environmental Science”. On this page is the public statement from our contract with University of Waikato.
Data are essential to research, understand, set policy for and manage New Zealand’s environment, but environmental data presents many challenges that require new data science methods to overcome them, and a substantial increase in the capability of environmental researchers, governors and managers to use data science in their work. This programme will develop those new methods and build the required capability.
In particular, we will focus on developing methods to deal with environmental datasets that are collected in large volumes over time, and must therefore be dealt with as streams that are analysed incrementally, as they are measured, rather than as collections of data that can be analysed all at once. These methods will address underlying characteristics of the data that evolve over time (e.g. due to climatic or ecological changes), and data that are collected at a range of time intervals and spatial scales ranging from broadscale satellite images to singlepoint measurements on the ground, in the water or air. The methods we develop will be interpretable and explainable (to help users understand why an algorithm produces some particular output), identify and understand anomalies (to distinguish “normal” from “unusual” measurements) and quantify uncertainty in algorithm output (to help decision-makers understand how confident they can be in conclusions drawn from the data science methods).
To deliver the methods we develop in a form that environmental scientists and managers can use, we will build a new open source framework to do machine learning on time series data, and provide an open access repository of environmental datasets to improve reproducibility in environmental data science. Through workshops, undergraduate and postgraduate research projects within the programme, we will build New Zealand’s capability in fundamental and applied data science relevant to environmental data, from introductory to postdoctoral level.