NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Advancing Research in the Geosciences Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Allen Pope January 23, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) encourages the submission of proposals that advance our understanding of geosciences using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) methods.

To tackle grand challenge problems across the geosciences, researchers increasingly are turning to AI/ML methods. AI includes any computational tool that mimics human intelligence, including using logic and decision trees. ML methods use statistical techniques to enable machines to improve at tasks with experience and include neural networks that permit software to train itself to perform tasks after exposure to vast amounts of data. These are powerful tools for analyzing large and complex datasets, developing physical models, expediting computation or scaling between models, or designing and deploying sensor networks. Unique aspects of understanding Earth systems and using geosciences data can also inform and inspire new developments in AI/ML, and AI-enabled research will require a workforce prepared to understand, use, and develop appropriate AI/ML techniques.

To promote research that benefits from AI/ML and reduces barriers to its use in the geosciences, GEO welcomes proposals incorporating AI/ML methods across its broad range of programs. The geosciences collectively refers to the research supported in the Divisions of Atmosphere and Geospace (AGS), Earth (EAR), and Ocean (OCE) Sciences, and in the Office of Polar Programs (OPP). Proposals in response to this DCL must advance core geosciences program goals and use AI/ML methods toward addressing scientific problems.

Full letter available on the NSF website.