Research Objectives

10/6/2015 6:50:27 PM

The University of New Orleans has established the Joseph Canizaro and James Livingston Gulf States Center for Environmental Informatics (Canizaro/Livingston GulfSCEI), which will focus on the science of information applied to environmental science. The Center was approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents at its September 2015 meeting. The Center is housed within the Department of Computer Science and is curretly directed by Dr. Abdelguerfi, professor and chair of computer science The Center will focus on a broad area of Environmental Informatics (EI). The center will apply environmental numerical modeling, machine learning techniques and advanced Geospatial Information Systems combined with Semantic Web Services to develop smart environmental decision support systems for the sustainable management of marine fauna, risk mitigation and environmental monitoring.   The center will foster both inter-disciplinary collaboration within the university, and will greatly facilitate close collaboration with non-academic institutions, such as state and federal agencies, and industrial partners. The main goal is to advance educational, research and development efforts in EI, involving faculty, staff, students, and non-academic personnel (such as personnel from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) – New Orleans District and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi) in its endeavors.

The center is a natural progression in a systematic, multi-year effort by the Computer Science and Biology Departments to build a Gulf Coast Wide recognized research and educational program in EI.  The main objectives behind it are to:

  • Attract Federal and State research and educational funding. EI is of critical importance to the nation and to the State of Louisiana and is an area of major interest for many federal funding agencies. In addition to traditional research funding provided by the National Science Foundation, other agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the LDWF and the State’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) support applied research in specific EI areas of interest. 
  • Attract and retain highly qualified students, faculty, and staff. The center will provide unique opportunities for educational and career development that will make it a natural focal point for efforts to attract talent to the area.
  • Facilitate workforce and economic development. The center will provide special workforce training opportunities that are critical to the expansion of the local pool of highly qualified IT professionals in EI. This is in sync with the State of Louisiana’s long-term effort to diversify the economy and attract and retain major Tech companies.
  • Develop outreach programs. The center will serve as the coordination point for community outreach initiatives in the Greater New Orleans area, including educational programs for local high schools.  Another aspect will be an outreach effort to increase awareness of the importance of and opportunities in EI among entrepreneurs, particularly small businesses.
  • Promote societal benefits. EI at UNO has a track record of producing solid software tools and mathematical models for the sustainable management of marine fauna, risk mitigation and environmental monitoring. The center will provide a development environment where, in collaboration with industry and government agencies, research ideas and prototypes are grown into real-world EI models and software tools to be used in daily practice.

The establishment of the Canizaro/Livingston GulfSCEI (pronounced Gulf Sea) was made possible by a generous donation from Mr. Joseph Canizaro and General James Livingston that will fund three endowed professorships at UNO’s Computer Science Department, including one for the Director of the proposed Center.