NIWA Expands Data Science Capabilities

NIWA Expands Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capabilities with Global Recruitment Campaign for Eight New Data Scientists.

The new specialist staff will help meet the growing demand for advanced digital technologies that will be integrated into the organization’s core sciences, products and services.

NIWA Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Warrick Johnston says NIWA aims to build the largest and best-resourced dedicated data science team in New Zealand.

“This team will enable NIWA to deliver data science as a service to its researchers through out-of-the-box tools, as well as undertake complex machine learning, artificial intelligence and vision activities. by computer for external customers. The innovations will take full advantage of NIWA’s supercomputing facilities. “

NIWA Director of Data Science and Computing Dr Kameron Christopher says expanding data science capacity makes a lot of sense for NIWA and the broader research and business sectors in New Zealand.

“We are seeing an acceleration in demand from staff and external clients, and NIWA is in the prime position to lead, given the vast scale of our data collection systems, our leading scientific expertise in our basic sciences and our intensive computing power. The initiative will put NIWA at the forefront of data science technology in New Zealand. “

NIWA Chief Research Officer Dr Rob Murdoch says there is limitless potential in applying science to the organization’s environmental research arms on freshwater, sea and climate .

“Data science will change the way we do research in the future. New technologies allow our scientists to collect huge sets of data that can now be analyzed using AI and machine learning at unprecedented speeds and detail. It is revolutionizing the kind of science we can do to solve problems like adapting to climate change, improving water quality, and managing our fisheries.

NIWA has been a leader in adopting technologies that advance its scientific capabilities and is home to Aotearoa’s largest high-performance computing facility in New Zealand. This has enabled revolutionary contributions to understanding the global climate system and the processes involved in some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Dr Murdoch says NIWA’s investment in high-performance computing means that data science has huge potential for use in a range of industries, including primary production where many businesses depend on weather conditions.

“Data science is also likely to play an increasingly important role in helping New Zealand become carbon neutral and adapt to our climate change.”

Dr Christopher says improving capabilities in areas such as computer vision will be of huge benefit to NIWA. “Machine learning techniques will dramatically speed up processes such as biosecurity and biodiversity monitoring.

Computer vision is already being used to identify invasive weeds, and there are test projects to determine kelp density, shellfish identification and river flow monitoring. It could also help the fishing industry to adopt camera-based systems for species and size identification.

Machine learning is also widely used in NIWA’s climate science to improve forecasting capabilities and has been key to the sophisticated high-resolution forecasting provided to Emirates Team New Zealand for its successful America’s Cup defense.

Dr Christopher says companies demand more data-driven decision making that can be integrated into their own processes, such as supply chains.

“They are wondering how weather and climate might affect assets and supply chains, and this is where we can help them. One example is working with the finance and insurance industries to better meet their climate-related financial disclosure needs and understand long-term risks and impacts. . “

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