Computational Sustainability at the Symposium on AI for Social Good

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored yet another symposium with clear connections to computational sustainability — I summarized an earlier symposium on Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs.

This most recent symposium on Artificial Intelligence for Social Good was co-sponsored by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), as well as the CCC. The videos of the talks and panels are online.

CompSustNet Deputy Director Thomas Dietterich and Associate Director Milind Tambe are featured on the panel on Environmental Sustainability.

  • Short Talks and Panel – Environmental Sustainability
    Moderated by Greg Hager, Johns Hopkins University
  • Tom Dietterich, Oregon State University – Understanding and Managing Ecosystems through Artificial Intelligence
  • Reuben Sarkar, The U.S. Department of Energy – Getting SMARTer on Future Mobility and Energy
  • Milind Tambe, University of Southern California – Green Security: How AI can help protect endangered wildlife, fish, forests
  • Tanya Berger Wolf, University of Illinois at Chicago – Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Data Science for Ecology and Conservation

Tom Dietterich (at 2:30 minutes) categorizes computational sustainability projects by their focus on data collection, data interpretation, data integration, model fitting (through machine learning), policy optimization for decision making, and policy execution, with exemplar projects in each category. Milind Tambe (at 18:10 minutes) talks about game theory applied to protection of natural resources, notably the the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), a focus of an upcoming post by Zimei Bian.

Other sessions are also relevant to CompSustNet, most notably the panel on Urban Computing.  All three speakers focused on transportation, a topic with good representation  in AAAI-16’s Computational Sustainability track too.

  • Short Talks and Panel Discussion – Urban Computing
    Moderated by Amy Greenwald, Brown University
  • Dan Hoffman, Montgomery County, Maryland – The Interface between People and Their Government
  • Stephen Smith, Carnegie Mellon University – Smart Infrastructure for Urban Mobility
  • Pascal van Hentenryck, University of Michigan – Reinventing Mobility with Artificial Intelligence

Dan Hoffman addresses policy and operational challenges of using autonomous public transportation (e.g., buses). Stephen Smith (at 10:00 minutes) describes a pilot project in Pittsburgh that uses adaptive and reactive software to control intersections with demonstrated benefits at reducing congestion, and reducing the consequences (e.g., CO2, time and monetary costs). Pascal van Hentenryck (at 20:30 minutes) describes a pilot project in Canberra Australia that uses a system of commuting hubs (i.e., park-and-rides) and on-demand public transportation, such as express buses and cabs, to reduce urban congestion as well.

Computational sustainability topics appear elsewhere in the symposium program, including Eric Horvitz’ keynote talk, in which he spotlights a number of areas, to include “precision agriculture” (at 22:15 minutes) and wildlife protection planning (24:15 minutes).

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at