Agriculture of the future: Neural networks have learned to predict plant growth

October 31, 2019

Scientists from Skoltech trained neural networks to evaluate and predict the plant growth pattern taking into account the main influencing factors and propose the optimal ratio between the nutrient requirements and other growth-driving parameters. The results of the study were published in the IEEE journal Transactions on Instrumentations and Measurements.

Over the past few years, multiple attempts have been made to use artificial intelligence (AI) in nearly all spheres of life. It did prove useful, helping people to make the right decisions and achieve the goal. Using AI to grow plants in artificial environments is no exception. Neural networks come in a broad variety of architectures, including their most prominent type, recurrent neural networks (RNN), that help efficiently process directional sequences of data, such as text, speech or time series, the latter being the most instrumental in describing plant growth over time.

In their study, the Skoltech scientists showed how RNN can be used in combination with computer vision algorithms to handle the plant growth prediction task in its entirety, while keeping an eye on the current status and main parameters of the plant growing system. The task was addressed using the data obtained in the study preformed in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), where the German scientists looked at additional stimulation for plant growth in artificial systems similar to those used on the International Space Station. The joint experiment yielded valuable results that helped find the optimal ratio of nutrients ensuring the best growth pattern under the existing constraints.

The scientists segmented and determined the total foliage area using computer vision algorithms and predicted plant growth using RNN of various architectures which coped efficiently with the task. They also proposed an embedded energy-efficient system for calculating and predicting the growth pattern in order to make real-life demo runs and tests of the dedicated software.

The system is based on Raspberry Pi, a popular single-board prototyping computer with an external Intel Movidius graphics card. The device uses a compact and powerful Myriad 2 graphics processor operating at 150 Gflops with a power of only 1 W, which is comparable to the supercomputers of the mid-1990s. A perfect solution for neural networks, these graphics chips will likely become the core of embedded AI-based systems in the future.

"The findings obtained in this study will help create portable systems for continuous monitoring and prediction of plant growth in artificial growing systems, which will ultimately be of invaluable benefit for man," ? said members of the authoring team, Dmitry Shadrin and Alexander Menshchikov.

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech)

Related Plant Growth Articles from Brightsurf:

Microbes help unlock phosphorus for plant growth
A research team led by the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has shown that microbes taken from trees growing beside pristine mountain-fed streams in Western Washington could make phosphorus trapped in soils more accessible to agricultural crops.

Plant research seals importance of microbes for survival and growth
Scientists have revealed that plants have a 'sealing' mechanism supported by microbes in the root that are vital for the intake of nutrients for survival and growth.

Plasma scientists optimize plant growth and yield
At the American Physical Society's Gaseous Electronics Conference, researchers described techniques for delivering plasma to seeds and plants and identifying which plants are most likely to respond.

Antagonistic genes modify rice plant growth
Rice stems lengthen when a newly identified gene activates during flooding.

Plant living with only one leaf reveals fundamental genetics of plant growth
Clinging to the walls of tropical caves is a type of plant with a single leaf that continues to grow larger for as long as the plant survives.

Success in promoting plant growth for biodiesel
Scientists of Waseda University in Japan succeeded in promoting plant growth and increasing seed yield by heterologous expression of protein from Arabidopsis (artificially modified high-speed motor protein) in Camelina sativa, which is expected as a useful plant for biodiesel.

Biologists unravel tangled mystery of plant cell growth
When cells don't divide into proper copies of themselves, living things fail to grow as they should.

The balancing act between plant growth and defense
Kumamoto University researchers have pinpointed the mechanism that regulates the balance between plant growth and defense.

A tiny arctic shrub reveals secrets of plant growth on Svalbard
It's not easy being a tiny willow on the wind-and snow-blasted islands of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard.

Newly discovered driver of plant cell growth contradicts current theories
The shape and growth of plant cells may not rely on increased fluidic pressure, or turgor, inside the cell as previously believed.

Read More: Plant Growth News and Plant Growth Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to