University of Leicester to Develop AI-Driven Digital Twin of UK for Net Zero Target, Backed by UK Research and Innovation Grant

June 14, 2023

June 14, 2023 — The University of Leicester is leading a new research project to develop a digital twin of the UK that harnesses artificial intelligence and big data to meet its net zero target. Funded by a £2.5 million (~US$3.17 million) research grant from UK Research and Innovation, the project will be putting artificial intelligence to use to reduce emissions from land use.

The world must urgently reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to prevent dangerous climate change. The UK aims to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Emissions from cattle and sheep farming and degraded peatlands together contribute about 10% of the UK’s emissions. The researchers will work together with industry leaders and the farming community to deliver intelligent computer code that can produce advice how to reduce these emissions.

The digital twin is an up-to-date representation of the real world. It is updated based on satellite information, field instrumentation and other data on an ongoing basis. A self-learning digital twin is clever enough to improve its knowledge of how the environment works based on these data. This way, the technology will be able to inform decision making for more environmentally friendly land use.

The Self-Learning Digital Twins for Sustainable Land Management project, announced today by UK Research and Innovation, started on 1 May 2023 and runs for 23 months. The team brings together leading researchers from three research-intensive universities and the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) with complementary expertise in AI, environmental research, greenhouse gas measurement and modelling, behavioural and social science.

Lead investigator Professor Heiko Balzter from the University of Leicester and NCEO said: “The UK is not yet on track towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Our research in this project will make a vital contribution to new technologies that are needed to get us on a path to net zero.

“Our team comprises not only environmental and computer scientists but also social scientists, behavioral scientists and media and communications experts. This way, we can understand what the barriers to using artificial intelligence are and how we can work with potential users to overcome them. Our industry partners will make important contributions to the project. Our team will consider how artificial intelligence algorithms can be used in an ethical and appropriate way. We aim to make our new technologies useful for companies working in the net zero realm.”

Professor Ashiq Anjum from the University of Leicester is leading the artificial intelligence research at Space Park Leicester and will lead the digital twin investigations in the new project.

He said: “We are pleased to see our excellent research work in digital twins is getting recognized in competitive research projects. We have been actively investigating self-learning digital twins at Leicester and this project is a great example of how we can enable computational models to co-exist with distributed machine learning approaches for solving ambitious research problems such as accurate modelling of net zero scenarios.

“We aim to use AI to calibrate computational models as well as enable computational models to control the AI functionality. This will lead to accurate, trustworthy and agile AI that has mathematical foundations and is capable of solving most pressing challenges to achieve the net zero targets.”

Professor Matthew Rigby from the University of Bristol said: “Machine learning is providing exciting new ways to use and analyze environmental data. The new advances in this project will allow us to bring together multiple data streams in ways that have not been possible before, to learn about the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Professor Baihua Li from Computer Science at Loughborough University said: “Smart AgriTech for efficient and sustainable farming provides a challenging research agenda. We are pleased our research in machine learning and digital twin technology will help to facilitate the digital transformation of precision agriculture and address numerous challenges for wider net zero carbon ambitions.

“Livestock is a major area in agriculture farming. Intelligent technology and innovation integrated with a digital twin will help us to gain insight of the complex agro-ecosystems, and improve livestock welfare and productivity associated together with soil and pasture management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Professor John Remedios, Director of the National Centre for Earth Observation, said: “In our work on net-zero verification for the UK we are recognizing that both observations and models are key to characterization of emissions and to predictability. A digital twin in this area will capture a key interaction between food and carbon, allowing us to test not only current outcomes but future scenarios.

“It is very likely that the drive to reach net-zero will require a number of measures and this project will provide not only a major step forward but also an exemplar for investigation of other net-zero measures. The UK can be proud of the innovative studies, such as this project, that are a sign of the scientific community’s commitment to support healthy and productive environments.”

Project partners include software giant CGI, who are working with clients in over 400 locations worldwide to support net zero, software developer FNK Designs, information provider Geospatial Insight, the leading global satellite companies MAXAR and Planet Labs. The team will work with the Cattle Information Service on dairy cattle, and Silvasheep will provide their enterprise on regenerative agroforestry farming.

About the University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is led by discovery and innovation – an international centre for excellence renowned for research, teaching and broadening access to higher education. It is among the Top 30 universities in the Times Higher Education (THE)’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 rankings with 89% of research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent, with wide-ranging impacts on society, health, culture, and the environment. The University is home to more than 20,000 students and approximately 4,000 staff.

About UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation and is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. Annually, we invest more than £8 billion to advance our understanding of people and the world around us and deliver benefits for society, the economy and the environment. Working in partnership, we aim to shape a more connected and agile research and innovation system in the UK that is an integral part of society, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and to benefit. Find out more in our new 5-year strategy, Transforming Tomorrow Together.

Source: the University of Leicester

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

AI Saves the Planet this Earth Day

April 22, 2024

Earth Day was originally conceived as a day of reflection. Our planet’s life-sustaining properties are unlike any other celestial body that we’ve observed, and this day of contemplation is meant to provide all of us Read more…

Intel Announces Hala Point – World’s Largest Neuromorphic System for Sustainable AI

April 22, 2024

As we find ourselves on the brink of a technological revolution, the need for efficient and sustainable computing solutions has never been more critical.  A computer system that can mimic the way humans process and s Read more…

Empowering High-Performance Computing for Artificial Intelligence

April 19, 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) presents some of the most challenging demands in information technology, especially concerning computing power and data movement. As a result of these challenges, high-performance computing Read more…

Kathy Yelick on Post-Exascale Challenges

April 18, 2024

With the exascale era underway, the HPC community is already turning its attention to zettascale computing, the next of the 1,000-fold performance leaps that have occurred about once a decade. With this in mind, the ISC Read more…

2024 Winter Classic: Texas Two Step

April 18, 2024

Texas Tech University. Their middle name is ‘tech’, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been fielding not one, but two teams in the last three Winter Classic cluster competitions. Their teams, dubbed Matador and Red Read more…

2024 Winter Classic: The Return of Team Fayetteville

April 18, 2024

Hailing from Fayetteville, NC, Fayetteville State University stayed under the radar in their first Winter Classic competition in 2022. Solid students for sure, but not a lot of HPC experience. All good. They didn’t Read more…

AI Saves the Planet this Earth Day

April 22, 2024

Earth Day was originally conceived as a day of reflection. Our planet’s life-sustaining properties are unlike any other celestial body that we’ve observed, Read more…

Kathy Yelick on Post-Exascale Challenges

April 18, 2024

With the exascale era underway, the HPC community is already turning its attention to zettascale computing, the next of the 1,000-fold performance leaps that ha Read more…

Software Specialist Horizon Quantum to Build First-of-a-Kind Hardware Testbed

April 18, 2024

Horizon Quantum Computing, a Singapore-based quantum software start-up, announced today it would build its own testbed of quantum computers, starting with use o Read more…

MLCommons Launches New AI Safety Benchmark Initiative

April 16, 2024

MLCommons, organizer of the popular MLPerf benchmarking exercises (training and inference), is starting a new effort to benchmark AI Safety, one of the most pre Read more…

Exciting Updates From Stanford HAI’s Seventh Annual AI Index Report

April 15, 2024

As the AI revolution marches on, it is vital to continually reassess how this technology is reshaping our world. To that end, researchers at Stanford’s Instit Read more…

Intel’s Vision Advantage: Chips Are Available Off-the-Shelf

April 11, 2024

The chip market is facing a crisis: chip development is now concentrated in the hands of the few. A confluence of events this week reminded us how few chips Read more…

The VC View: Quantonation’s Deep Dive into Funding Quantum Start-ups

April 11, 2024

Yesterday Quantonation — which promotes itself as a one-of-a-kind venture capital (VC) company specializing in quantum science and deep physics  — announce Read more…

Nvidia’s GTC Is the New Intel IDF

April 9, 2024

After many years, Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) was back in person and has become the conference for those who care about semiconductors and AI. I Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

Synopsys Eats Ansys: Does HPC Get Indigestion?

February 8, 2024

Recently, it was announced that Synopsys is buying HPC tool developer Ansys. Started in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1970 as Swanson Analysis Systems, Inc. (SASI) by John Swanson (and eventually renamed), Ansys serves the CAE (Computer Aided Engineering)/multiphysics engineering simulation market. Read more…

Intel’s Server and PC Chip Development Will Blur After 2025

January 15, 2024

Intel's dealing with much more than chip rivals breathing down its neck; it is simultaneously integrating a bevy of new technologies such as chiplets, artificia Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

Baidu Exits Quantum, Closely Following Alibaba’s Earlier Move

January 5, 2024

Reuters reported this week that Baidu, China’s giant e-commerce and services provider, is exiting the quantum computing development arena. Reuters reported � Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…

Shutterstock 1179408610

Google Addresses the Mysteries of Its Hypercomputer 

December 28, 2023

When Google launched its Hypercomputer earlier this month (December 2023), the first reaction was, "Say what?" It turns out that the Hypercomputer is Google's t Read more…


How AMD May Get Across the CUDA Moat

October 5, 2023

When discussing GenAI, the term "GPU" almost always enters the conversation and the topic often moves toward performance and access. Interestingly, the word "GPU" is assumed to mean "Nvidia" products. (As an aside, the popular Nvidia hardware used in GenAI are not technically... Read more…

Leading Solution Providers


Shutterstock 1606064203

Meta’s Zuckerberg Puts Its AI Future in the Hands of 600,000 GPUs

January 25, 2024

In under two minutes, Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, laid out the company's AI plans, which included a plan to build an artificial intelligence system with the eq Read more…

China Is All In on a RISC-V Future

January 8, 2024

The state of RISC-V in China was discussed in a recent report released by the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The report, entitled "E Read more…

Shutterstock 1285747942

AMD’s Horsepower-packed MI300X GPU Beats Nvidia’s Upcoming H200

December 7, 2023

AMD and Nvidia are locked in an AI performance battle – much like the gaming GPU performance clash the companies have waged for decades. AMD has claimed it Read more…

Nvidia’s New Blackwell GPU Can Train AI Models with Trillions of Parameters

March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest and fastest GPU, codenamed Blackwell, is here and will underpin the company's AI plans this year. The chip offers performance improvements from Read more…

Eyes on the Quantum Prize – D-Wave Says its Time is Now

January 30, 2024

Early quantum computing pioneer D-Wave again asserted – that at least for D-Wave – the commercial quantum era has begun. Speaking at its first in-person Ana Read more…

GenAI Having Major Impact on Data Culture, Survey Says

February 21, 2024

While 2023 was the year of GenAI, the adoption rates for GenAI did not match expectations. Most organizations are continuing to invest in GenAI but are yet to Read more…

The GenAI Datacenter Squeeze Is Here

February 1, 2024

The immediate effect of the GenAI GPU Squeeze was to reduce availability, either direct purchase or cloud access, increase cost, and push demand through the roof. A secondary issue has been developing over the last several years. Even though your organization secured several racks... Read more…

Intel’s Xeon General Manager Talks about Server Chips 

January 2, 2024

Intel is talking data-center growth and is done digging graves for its dead enterprise products, including GPUs, storage, and networking products, which fell to Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow