Agricultural projects win CITRIS White paper competition

Two agricultural proposals’one on supporting urban
agriculture in Mexico City and the other on alleviating water scarcity in
California farming’are co-winners of the first annual CITRIS White Paper
and will receive $7500 each. CITRIS, the Center for
Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, hosted the
competition, which was organized by Tom Kalil, Special Assistant to the
Chancellor for Science and Technology at UC Berkeley, in order to tap into the
extraordinary energy and creativity of UC students to help translate basic
research into projects that have a direct positive impact on society. 


To participate in the competition, each group project must
have at least one student member at one of the four CITRIS campuses: UC
Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz.


members of the Concrete Garden, which seeks to establish an interactive web
portal that will support the work of environmental organizations by promoting
the spread of information regarding urban agro-ecology in Mexico, are Lily Foster and Sara Emery, both
undergraduate students at
the University of California, Santa Cruz
majoring in Latin American & Latino Studies.


The proposal Mitigation of Water Scarcity in California
Agriculture through Use of an Information Technology Platform for Environmental Data was
prepared by AgLinx Solutions, a team formed by mechanical engineering graduate students
Thomas H. Cauley III and Brian D. Sosnowchik, and Alexander K. Do, a project manager
at the California Energy Commission. The company was formed in the fall 2004 through
the New Product Development Course in the Management of Technology (MOT)
Program at UC Berkeley and has previously received a $16,000 a National
Collegiate Innovators & Inventors Alliance (NCIIA) Advanced E-Team grant to
pursue its goal of mitigating frost in northern California vineyards though
wireless sensor networks. The prototyping work and research for the project is
also supported by the Ford Lab in mechanical engineering.


The second prize of $3000 was awarded to Mayuri Panditrao,
Prasanth Jeevan and Tahir Akbar, UC Berkeley graduate students at the School of Public Health, EECS and Goldman School
of Public Policy, respectively, whose proposal focuses on the use of geographic
information systems to predict vector-borne disease outbreaks.


Berkeley researchers and graduate students Madelaine Plauché , Joyojeet Pal, Divya
Ramachandran and Richard Carlson won the $2000 third prize for their proposal
on simple, scalable speech technology to allow IT access for all literacy
levels in developing regions.


The volunteer judges involved in the competition included
faculty members from CITRIS campuses UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, and Tom Kalil.

Online presentations, May 15, 2006