USDA grant awarded to Computer Science Faculty

Release Date: 
Mar 6 2017

The IUPUI Computer Science Department is pleased to announce Professors Dr. Snehasis Mukhopadhyay and Dr. Arjan Durresi have been awarded a $525,000 4-year grant through an interagency partnership between the USDA-NIFA  and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Their research in collaboration with Dr. Meghna Babbar-Sebens of Oregon State University will develop a novel computer-aided decision support tool, Inter ACTWEL (Interactive Adaptation and Collaboration Tool for managing Water, Energy and Land), a secure and intelligent coordination hub for food, energy and water stakeholders in local communities interested in adaptive management of shared natural resources

Given the increasingly strong evidence for emerging climate change and economic trends, coordination of adaptation decisions for managing limited natural resources - such as water and arable land - in food, energy, and water (FEW) sectors, are expected to become increasingly critical.  Coordination among stakeholders is especially critical when resource availability and quality is threatened. Stakeholders may include those whose livelihoods depend on food and energy production, as well as availability of water for consumptive uses (e.g., industry, agriculture, drinking water) as well as non-consumptive uses (e.g., fisheries, ecosystem maintenance, recreation, navigation, hydropower, cultural preservation). Food-Energy-Water (FEW) actors often include farmers, tribes, water managers, dam operators, industries, recreationalists, government agencies and environmentalists.

InterACTWEL will empower FEW actors in local communities to collaborate and coordinate the management of natural resources over time. Whenever there is an environmental disturbance (e.g., extreme floods, droughts, groundwater declines, fish diseases) or when there are new agricultural or environmental policies, FEW actors will be able to use InterACTWEL’s intuitive interfaces to examine how these factors will affect their goals, operations and livelihoods. The scientific models in InterACTWEL will allow individual FEW actors to identify potential adaptation strategies from a wide range of management choices available to them, while also enabling them to learn about how their decisions affect other FEW actors. With InterACTWEL local communities will be able to increase their overall capacity to adjust their operations through time, for uncertain and adverse stresses affecting the environment or the economy. Anyone can use and access InterACTWEL; the data-secure tool will be easy to navigate and will run on either a desktop or mobile application.

Dr. Mukopadhyay when asked of the importance of his research refers back to an article from Fortune Magazine, “Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations.” (Fortune, May 2000)

Funded by: Interagency partnership between NSF and USDA/NIFA

Total Funding Amount: 1.5 million dollars (IUPUI Share: $525, 000)

Funding period: 01/01/2017-12/31/2020

Overall Project PI: Meghna Babbar-Sebens (Oregon State University)

IUPUI Project PIs: Snehasis Mukhopadhyay and Arjan Durresi

Related Research Website: https://wrestore.iupui.edu/