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Improving agriculture through digital technologies: 3rd Annual Symposium takes place in Saskatoon October 17-18

Creating innovative plant breeding technologies to achieve global food security – that’s the goal of the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre (P2IRC) at the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS).

Cutting-edge work of P2IRC to achieve this goal will be showcased at the centre’s 3rd Annual Symposium taking place October 17 and 18 at the Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon. Each year, the P2IRC symposium attracts about 300 senior researchers and students, as well as industry and producer groups, working on plant breeding technologies.

This year’s symposium, themed “Mobilizing P2IRC: Process. Target. Engagement,” will feature world-renowned international researchers, P2IRC researchers from across Canada, industry representatives, students and others. Presentations include: 

  • Revolutionizing plant breeding using digital data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning techniques—U of S computer scientist Ian Stavness will speak on work he and colleague Tony Kusalik are undertaking.
  • New technologies in data processing and visualization for high-throughput phenotyping—Carl Gutwin, U of S Distinguished Research Award Winner
  • Potential P2IRC commercial opportunities—speakers from FarmersEdge, Cargill, Corteva Agriscience Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, FieldAlytics, and the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute.

The symposium exhibit area will showcase displays by agriculture and technology companies including Draganfly Innovations, Stream Technologies, and Qubit Systems, to name a few.

Along with about 60 scientific posters submitted for the 3rd Annual Student P2IRC Poster Competition, two unique student displays will be showcased:

  • Use of virtual reality to “step inside” a gerbera flower head and interactively explore its vascular system.
  • Use of a stereo 3D screen and a haptic device which involves physical contact between the computer and the user, making it possible to “touch and feel” the individual veins of flower heads and conduct interactive labelling of veins of during flower head exploration.

P2IRC, located at the U of S and managed by GIFS, was launched with funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF).