A new challenge: Joining the “AI for Earth” team at Microsoft

I am very excited to announce that I took a new role at Microsoft as Principal Engineer on the AI for Earth team.  I was definitely not looking to move, as my old team is completely fabulous.  But the opportunity to use my passion for machine learning to drive meaningful change was too exciting to pass up. 


So what is “AI for Earth”?  Microsoft has publicly committed $50 million USD over 5 years for artificial intelligence projects that support clean water, agriculture, climate, and biodiversity.  But our true vision extends beyond a grant program: our data science team is working with partners and nonprofits to build a set of APIs to transform these environmental issues.  Imagine machine learning models exposed through services which could differentiate between various species of animal for conservation purposes, predict agricultural yields, estimate the probability of floods, super resolve climate predictions, or classify aerial and satellite imagery into actionable maps of natural resources that could empower land use planners to optimize the use of our planet’s scarce resources. 

Our AI for Earth work aligns to three key pillars:

  • Access – our grant program provides cloud resources and the ability to do machine learning at scale
  • Education – we are committed to helping our grantees be successful with office hours and training resources
  • Innovation – we are developing a showcase of lighthouse projects, publishing research, and collaborating with others to expand and grow initial projects.  At Build, we will talk about the private preview of a new AI for Earth API, and discuss how we are enabling others to produce their own APIs dedicated to environmental sustainability.

I’ve already had the opportunity to start working with some of our grantees, and I’m so impressed with the ways they are using machine learning to address climate change, improve agricultural yields, lessen water scarcity, and protect wildlife and Earth’s biodiversity.  I am excited to share their work with you in the coming months.  In addition, we work very closely with several groups in Microsoft Research, including Project Premonition and FarmBeats (you may have heard me speaking and blogging on FarmBeats in the past). 

Similar to my previous role, I will still be doing a mixture of public speaking in addition to my engineering work.  Here are some upcoming conferences (the hyperlinked ones are open to the public) where I will be speaking about AI for Earth in the next few months:




O’Reilly AI Conference


New York, NY

Data Science Conference


Chicago, IL



Seattle, WA

AI for Earth Summit


Redmond, WA



Suncadia, WA



Paris, France



Redmond, WA

O’Reilly AI Conference


San Francisco, CA

For more information on the AI for Earth program, please visit https://aka.ms/aiforearth.  If you are doing machine learning work in agriculture, water, climate change, or biodiversity, feel free to apply for a grant as well.