ABOUT THE INITIATIVE AND THOSE INVOLVED
Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota (UMN) was ground zero for the Green Revolution in agriculture in the mid-20th century. Launched in 2015, GEMS Informatics is forging the future of the Data Revolution in agriculture. Minnesota is the birthplace of supercomputing in the early 1960s and has long been home to the world’s leading agri-food companies, making it the natural nexus for data-driven, public-private partnerships that create solutions to the complex challenges facing local and global agri-food systems. Read More
GEMS was not quite birthed in a garage, like some iconic digital startups, but grew out of a driveway conversation as two UMN colleagues walked home from work one day. Both long-time mates, Phil Pardey is from UMN's ag., food and natural resources college and Kevin Silverstein is at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. Merging their shared interests in making a positive difference for agriculture at scale with the cutting-edge professional chops of their respective institutional homes was the idea spark that ignited GEMS Informatics. Brian Buhr, CFANS Dean, and Jim Wilgenbusch, Director of Research Computing, shared in the vision and helped grow the initiative.
Acting agile, Thinking long term
The digital space in the agri-food sector is changing rapidly. GEMS is helping to drive that change, but also knows that many of the gnarly problems facing agriculture—including those related to changing climate, pests and diseases and markets—play out over multiple, often many, seasons. Curating, interoperating, and analyzing short- and long-term data is key to unlocking the potential of the data revolution in agriculture. Read More
By design, GEMS has long-term core support from MNDrive, the College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences and together with other UMN Grants and subscription revenues help right-size and derisk GEMS operations. This enables GEMS to do what universities do best – give its truly talented staff the freedom to think outside the black box to imagine and implement the next-gen, over-the-horizon informatics innovations that will drive the data revolution in local and global agriculture for decades to come.