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AI Newcomer Award goes to Nora Gourmelon

The Ger­man Asso­cia­tion of Com­puter Sci­ence (Ge­sell­schaft für In­formatik) grants an AI New­comer Award eve­ry year to ten young re­searchers under 30 years for inno­vative de­velopments in the area of artifi­cial intel­li­gence. This year a PhD stu­dent of the Inter­na­tional Doc­torate Pro­gram (IDP) “Measuring and Mod­elling Mountain glaci­ers and ice caps in a Changing Cli­mAte (M³OCCA)” was under the awardees.

Student of the Elite Network receives AI Award

Nora Gourmel­on, who is part of the Inter­na­tional Doc­torate Pro­gram (IDP) “Measuring and Modelling Mountain glaciers and ice caps in a Changing ClimAte (M³OCCA)”, was hon­ored with the AI New­comer Award 2023 in the field of natu­ral and life sci­ences for her re­search in Green AI, a re­search field that tack­les sus­taina­bil­ity-related prob­lems with AI. In her cur­rent work, con­duct­ed as part of the IDP, she is de­velop­ing deep-learning tech­niques for ex­tract­ing glaci­er front posi­tions from satel­lite im­agery. The award cere­mony took place in Berlin on April 26th as part of “KI-Camp 2023,” an event for young AI re­searchers orga­nized by the Ger­man Asso­cia­tion of Com­puter Sci­ence and the Ger­man Fed­eral Minis­try for Edu­cation and Re­search (Bun­des­minis­terium für Bild­ung und For­schung).

Research on “Green AI”

Nora Gourmelon is doing her doc­torate at the Chair of Pat­tern Recognition at Frie­drich-Alexan­der Uni­versi­ty Er­langen-Nu­rem­berg. After study­ing com­puter sci­ence, she is now con­duct­ing re­search in the field of "green AI". She is par­ticu­larly inter­ested in the water con­sump­tion be­havior of households, the detec­tion of sea­birds in vide­o-based popu­lation sur­veys, and the locali­zation of break-off edges, and the de­termi­nation of the ice thick­ness of melt­ing glaci­ers. Her work on the appli­cation of ma­chine learn­ing to the classi­fica­tion of water end-use cate­gories has re­ceived sev­eral awards, in­clud­ing the Best Paper Award at a rec­og­nized con­fer­ence. In col­la­bora­tion with the Ger­man Fed­eral Agency for Na­ture Con­serva­tion, Ms. Gourmelon is re­searching how AI can be used to make sea­bird cen­suses and spe­cies sur­veys more effi­cient. Initial suc­cesses prom­ise great poten­tial in terms of labor and time sav­ings and, thus, more timely in­for­mation avail­able for spe­cies con­serva­tion. In order to make re­search on ap­pro­priate Deep Learning tech­niques for local­izing glaci­er break-off edges in satel­lite im­agery com­para­ble and re­pro­duci­ble, Ms. Gourmelon has pub­lished a benchmark da­taset to­gether with base­line algo­rithms. By im­prov­ing the locali­zation of the break-off edges and a more accu­rate de­termi­nation of the ice thick­ness, a higher accu­racy of cli­mate mod­els can be achieved, which form the basis for rec­om­men­da­tions of sci­ence to poli­tics (e.g., IPCC re­ports).

When asked what the award means to her, Gourmelon re­sponds: “The award helps to raise awareness of how you can also get in­volved in biodi­versi­ty and cli­mate pro­tec­tion as a com­puter scien­tist. In addi­tion, I am, of course, also very pleased about the great recognition for my re­search to date.”

Text: Nora Gourmel­on, Inter­na­tional Doc­torate Pro­gram "Measuring and Mod­elling Mountain glaci­ers and ice caps in a Changing Cli­mAte (M³OCCA)"