by Dan Stanzione and Matt Vaughn
In the developing world today, the average person consumes 25% more calories than in 1960. This tremendous progress has come from many sources: improved irrigation, new fertilizers, and the breeding of hybrid species, to name a few. But there are signs that traditional techniques for improving production are stagnating while pressure to produce more mounts. Limited supplies of water, fuel, and land combine with climate change, population growth and changing food habits to put increasing demands on our ability to grow plants. Surprisingly, the future of agriculture turns out to be a computational challenge. By exploring genomic and metabolic networks, scientists are gaining critical insights into how plants work, but the amount of data produced and the computational power required is growing exponentially. This session will describe The iPlant Collaborative, a large-scale project bringing high-end computing, data, and software resources to bear on the grand challenges of plant biology.
9th–13th March 2012