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  • Cornell AgriTech
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Horticulture Section
  • Agriculture
  • Digital Agriculture
  • Plants
Yu Jiang, assistant professor, Horticulture Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science

Academic focus: Multimodal sensing, agricultural robotics and artificial intelligence in agriculture

Research summary: I study systems engineering and digital solutions to enhancing the productivity, quality, sustainability and resilience of agrifood systems. My lab – the Cyber-Agricultural Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) Lab – develops sensing, robotics and AI technologies for agriculture and life science applications. Our overarching goal is to integrate and use these emerging techniques to tackle unprecedented challenges in agrifood systems by optimizing the farm-to-table continuum from research to production across scales.

If you had unlimited grant funding, what major problem in your field would you want to solve?

I would use all advanced materials, sensing modalities, computing resources and human power to build a fully-autonomous, AI-assisted, human-centered system to digitize every single corner on the Earth to optimize resources (e.g., energy and water) and guide agricultural production and food manufacturing. With this, I envision every one of us receiving precision diets that maximize our health with minimal environmental impacts. My dream is also to make such a system available on spacecrafts and other planets that can support our universal exploration.

What (specifically) brought you to Cornell CALS?

I have been attracted to CALS’ historical legacy of excellence in agricultural science and engineering as well as the visionary investment in digital agriculture. It’s very rare that you can find a place where the people simultaneously have an interdisciplinary mindset and are willing to make fundamental (and sometimes risky) changes.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love reading sci-fi books and comics as well as building models with kits ranging from LEGO to Gundam. While I am not good at it, I like playing the board game Go, which uses the simplest rules for the most complex changes. I am also a big esports fan and interested in seeing how humans can play against modern AI trained with numerous resources. I also enjoy spending time exploring new things and places with my daughter.

What are three adjectives people might use to describe you?

Diligent, insightful, collaborative

What are your current outreach/extension projects?

The overarching goal of my extension program is to promote digital agriculture to enhance the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of specialty crop industries via a transdisciplinary approach. To this end, I am building necessary vocabulary for communications among researchers across multiple disciplines, industrial partners, private agricultural producers and growers. I am establishing a test bed at Cornell AgriTech that will demonstrate the full capability of digital agriculture as well as the evaluation of various commercial DA tools.

Learn more about Yu at https://cals.cornell.edu/yu-jiang, and Yu’s lab at https://cair.cals.cornell.edu/.

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