Winter Farm wants to change agricultural methods in order to grow the business and achieve its ambitious goals: produce more than 13 million kilograms of fruit and replace 10% of Canada’s strawberry imports by 2025. Enter IVADO and research teams from three Quebec universities: ETS, HEC Montréal and UdeM Nouvelles.
The team from the University of Montreal’s Department of Computer Science and Operations Research is working on building an AI-based system to automate control decisions in the strawberry vertical farm.
A farm and its digital shadow
The team is composed of Professor Houari Sahraoui, an expert on software modeling and AI, Professor Eugene Syriani, an expert on computer system modeling and simulation, and Istvan David, a postdoctoral researcher specializing in multi-paradigm modeling and cyber-biophysical systems.
“Our team is modeling all aspects of the plants’ growth to create a digital shadow—that is, a digital version that mirrors the behavior of the physical farm as closely as possible,” Sahraoui explained. It’s a tall order. It means modeling plant growth, the entire environment, and how the environment affects the plant. “You have to take into consideration the plant, the nutrients in the irrigation water, the light settings, the temperature and the air currents,” said Sahraoui. “The only aspect we don’t model is pollination because the bumblebees in the indoor farm take care of that.”
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