HPC in Agriculture: NCSA and Syngenta’s Dynamic Partnership

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Jim Mellon is Head of R&D at Syngenta

In this video, Jim Mellon from Syngenta and Liudmila Mainzer from NCSA describe how a new partnership is helping the company answer the agricultural challenges of the future.

“NCSA Industry and Syngenta have been partners since 2014. Together, we’re solving some of the toughest issues in agriculture today, like how to feed our rapidly growing population knowing that the amount of land we have for growing crops is finite. NCSA Industry provides the high-performance computing resources that Syngenta’s scientists need to solve these issues, as well as an industry focus on security, performance, and availability, with the consultancy to better understand how to maximize these resources.”

Back in February, Syngenta launched a Digital Innovation Lab at the University of Illinois Research Park where it will employ four full-time employees as well as University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student talent to help solve agricultural challenges.

Projects at the Digital Innovation Lab will employ “outside the box” thinking with access to tools, technologies, partnerships and resources that enable the research, investigation and delivery of new and novel solutions for seeds product development using data analytics.

Innovation in agriculture is the lifeblood of the work we do at Syngenta. Our goal is to bring new talent to solve difficult challenges, with a focus on seed innovation at the Research Park,” said Bill Danker, Syngenta Domain Head, Seeds Research and Breeding.

The center will focus on digital data innovation and strategy, providing Syngenta with agile capabilities to enable the company to accelerate the pace of its digital journey. It will foster new ways to gain insights and make decisions from the company’s data assets. The center will develop capabilities in breeding engineering, digital agriculture, information technology, application development and big data.

In conjuction with the opening of the new office, Syngenta has an industry partnership with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. This partnership enables Syngenta to leverage the NCSA’s unique expertise in high-performance modeling, simulation and big data to gain a competitive edge.

The opening of the Syngenta Innovation Center at Research Park is a welcome new addition that continues to strengthen the relationship between Syngenta and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “The opportunity for our students to be active participants in finding the solutions to increasingly complex societal challenges brought about by an expanding global population adds enormous value to their educational experience. The new center really capitalizes on the internationally recognized expertise in High Performance Computing, data sciences, and agriculture science at Illinois in ways to enhance Syngenta’s drive for innovation.”

The new Research Park operation is located on campus to better connect industry with researchers and students. The center will start with a full-time site director, recruit professionaltaff, and employ students, who

will work on developing projects using technologies such as smart farming, mobile applications, cloud services, and big data.

Digital innovation and integrating our data for greater insight is becoming a critical part of how we invent and bring new products to market, and support them in the market. This new capability will add creativity to the way we approach digital innovation,” said John Ormrod, Syngenta Head IS Global R&D.

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