Curie Supercomputer Uses HPC to Help Improve Agricultural Production

January 8, 2018

Jan. 8, 2018 — Agriculture is the principal means of livelihood in many regions of the developing world, and the future of our world depends on a sustainable agriculture at planetary level. High Performance Computing is becoming critical in agricultural activity, plague control, pesticides design and pesticides effects. Climate data are used to understand the impacts on water and agriculture in many regions of the world, help local authorities in the management of water and agricultural resources, and assist vulnerable communities in the region through improved drought management and response.

Image courtesy of the European Commission.

The demand for agricultural products has increased globally and meeting this growing demand would have a negative effect on the environment.  Increased agricultural production needs the use of 70% of the world’s water resources and a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

To be able to reduce the negative impact to the ecosystem, seed companies are on the lookout for new plant varieties that yield more produce. Companies normally find such new varieties through field trials.  These field trials are a simple observation method but they cost a lot of money and are time consuming taking years to find the best ones.

Using High Performance Computing (HPC), the Curie supercomputer is able to provide the most efficient solution to this problem.  HPC enables numerical simulations of plant growth that help seed companies to achieve superior varieties instead of doing field trials which are more expensive and harmful for the environment.

For example, if a farmer wants to know what the conditions are for a plant to grow best in ( its genetic parameter), they would have to test its growth rate under various conditions to select the best parameter corresponding to the specific environment of the region. With the help of HPC, the estimation of these parameters is made more accurate and simpler by simulating plant growth. The simulation models take into account, the plant’s interaction with the environment.  It reduces the number of field trials by a large percent, for example, instead of 100, 10 field trials would be enough to  estimate the best genetic parameter.

Cybele Tech, the French company has used High Performance Computing to enable farmers to produce more with less and know what exactly their plants need to get a better yield.

They’ve been awarded with 4 million core hours on Curie hosted by GENCI at CEA, France.


Source: European Commission

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