How can we use data for improving food production?

Source: http://www.ictsd.org/bridges-news/bridges/news/fao-oecd-food-security-key-to-g-20-growth-goals

Food security is one of the hottest topics nowadays; with a constantly growing population that is expected to reach (and even exceed) 9 billion by 2020, and the traditional food production systems reaching their limits, new, innovative ways need to be followed in order to ensure that there will be enough food for everyone in the upcoming years. What is strange is that at the same time, huge amounts of food are going to waste on a daily basis; in EU alone, more than 100 million tones of food are going to waste annually.

Intensive and industrial agriculture exhibit higher yields of cultivated crops but the price is high: The (increasingly high) use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers, among other chemicals, has its toll on the ecosystems, flora and fauna at a small and larger scale.… Click to read the full post

Safe travels, Erik

I want to fly away

Almost 15 years ago, during winter 2001-2002. We were still young graduate students with Pythagoras and Kostas, working late hours at the ASK research unit of ITI-CERTH in Athens. We were spending hours, trying to understand, digest and decompose the IEEE standard on Learning Object Metadata. And every time that we celebrated a small step forward, something better and sexier hit us from this guy: Metadata Principles and Practicalities. A LOM Research Agenda. Electronic Forms Must Die! To get us back in our worm hole to work for many more hours.

I vaguely remember the first time that I met him, in July 2002.… Click to read the full post

Facilitating access to educational and learning resources: Experiences so far

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As you may already know this week (March 7-11) is the Open Education Week 2016 – an initiative that aims to raise awareness of free and open sharing in education and the benefits they bring to teachers and learners. The event takes place at a global level and is coordinated by the Open Education Consortium, a global network of educational institutions, individuals and organizations that support an approach to education based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials.

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This was an excellent opportunity for us to write something relevant to this concept, as a small contribution to this global set of events – and it seems that the best I could think of at this point is our (as Agroknow) contributions in facilitating access to educational resources, mostly in green topics.… Click to read the full post

Working on text mining – this is what we do

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Our participation in the OpenMinTeD Horizon 2020 project allowed us to get to know a little bit more on text mining, the communities around it, the various types of stakeholders and the issues that they face.

Our job was everything around the user requirements’ elicitation; we were responsible for defining and applying a methodology for creating the profiles of various types of text mining stakeholders, understanding their content-related needs, identifying their issues and proposing the optimal solutions to address them – focusing on the text mining-related ones. Pretty demanding, right?

The project encompasses four (4) different communities:

  1. Scholarly Communication
  2. Agriculture / Biodiversity
  3. Life Sciences
  4. Social Sciences

Our methodology consisted of two rounds of requirements’ elicitation:

i) A general online questionnaire was prepared and project partners were asked to adapt it for their communities.… Click to read the full post

Global Agricultural Concept Scheme: One KOS to rule them all?

GACS

Anyone working with research these days could confirm that scarcity of research outcomes is not an issue anymore; thematic repositories and aggregators provide access to a wealth of research publications and data, as well as related information such as projects working in a specific thematic area, profiles of researchers and organizations activated in a specific research context, funding opportunities, tools and services etc. However, one of the major issues identified is the difficulty in retrieving such information from various heterogeneous content sources that are scattered worldwide, isolated and incompatible with each other. This is, to a high degree, due to the lack of interoperability between the different systems hosting such information.… Click to read the full post

“I do big data for the food & beverage industry” – OK, but for which problem?

milk

I was reading through the 2013 report on “Formula for growth: Innovation, big data and analytics” that the US Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Deloitte Consulting L.L.P. produced. This is a very interesting report, since it outlines the opportunities big data offers to food and beverage manufacturers, bringing the industry perspective to the big data discussion. The report also discusses how data mining technologies are starting to transform the consumer packaged goods marketplace, and outlines what companies may do to use the technologies to improve performance.

A GMA video summarizing the report findings (find it here: http://www.gmaonline.org/issues-policy/collaborating-with-retailers/big-data-analytics/welcome)

A very interesting Deloitte video with Prof. Tom Davenport summarises the report findings

There are a couple of recommendations in the report that rang a bell:

  • Business context is required to operationalize big data, analytics, and innovation
  • The majority of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is lagging in data and analytical capabilities
  • Rapid-fire pace of innovation requires data & analytics competency

Yes, I agree that context is king.… Click to read the full post

300 blog posts and counting!

Blue is everywhere

The Agro-Know blog started by the end of 2013, after a discussion I had with Nikos; I have already shared some parts of the story here and we have already celebrated the 100th one (but we missed the 200th in the meantime…). Today we are celebrating the 300th post on the Agro-Know blog!

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Yes, sometime we feel like the Spartans :-)

I am personally proud of the Agro-Know blog, as I have devoted a significant amount of time and effort in setting it up, shaping it, making it look beautiful (in terms of theme and user interface), administering it (backing up everything, moderating posts, installing and updating plugins etc.) but most of all making sure that fresh and interesting content is published on a periodic basis.… Click to read the full post

Right before the August break…

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So here I am, Saturday noon all alone in the office, working on bits and pieces of things that I would like to put together before I leave for the August family holiday break… Still thinking about what Margarita asked me yesterday: “How can this handful of people do such an impressive amount of work during August?”

#LifeAtAK: Really, where is everybody? 😆

A photo posted by Agro-Know (@agroknow) on

So what keeps me busy these last working hours, before I depart for a few more days in the sunny Greek islands?

  • Taking a look at the new version of AKstem.com that Panagis is working on, so that I provide him with a description of the core services that we will offer (Open, Share, Use, Map), in order to be ready for the September launch.
Click to read the full post

WE Are The Greeks

Let's have fun

In this company, we always aimed at having a multi-cultural and multi-national team, to embrace and understand and appreciate diversity. During the years, our team has included people from Romania, Latvia, Belgium, UK, USA and other countries. Many of us are also a little bit Polish, Canadian or Russian. Some dream of independent states within their countries – like Transylvania and Crete. But overall, regàrdless of whether we are physically located in Athens, Leuven or other parts of the world, today We Are The Greeks.

We are the Greeks that enjoy doing the dirty job and work hard until the job gets done.… Click to read the full post

Agro-Know: Doing business as usual!

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During the last days (or even weeks) we receive a number of kind inquiries from friends, colleagues, customers and collaborators around the world, asking us about the current situation in Greece and how this affects our work. The answer is simple: No matter what happens outside the Agro-Know office in Athens, we are doing business as usual!

The Agro-Know team, having the flexibility of operational bases in both Greece and Belgium, is working full speed on various tasks, just before our summer holidays begin:

Click to read the full post