Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Microsoft's Attempt to Build a Software for Modeling Natural Ecosystems

Photo courtesy by Microsoft
Microsoft's Environmental Sustainability Team announced through their blog, the Microsoft Green Blog, about their attempt to create a modeling software on how our earth's ecosystem alter through climatic changes designed to "dramatically enhance our understanding of the environment and lead to policy decisions that better support conservation and biodiversity".

The modeling software basically started with Drew Purves, the head of Microsoft's Computational Ecology and Environmental Science Group (CEES) and his colleagues at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, United Kingdom, working with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC). “UNEP-WCMC is an international hub of important conservation activity, and we were pretty open-minded about exactly what we might do together,” says Purves.

Little though did that team knew that they're research will later lead on modeling life at global scales, a general ecosystem model (GEM) that could contribute to better informed policy decisions about our biodiversity.

"Building a GEM is challenging—but not impossible. Microsoft Research and the UNEP-WCMC have spent the past two years developing a prototype GEM for terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The prototype is dubbed the Madingley Model, and is built on top of another hugely ambitious project that the group just finished, modeling the global carbon cycle. With this as starting point, they set out to model all animal life too: herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores, of all sizes, on land in the sea," stated in their article at Microsoft Green Blog. "The Computational Ecology group were in a unique position to do this, because the group includes actual ecologists (like Purves), doing novel research within Microsoft Research itself. In addition, they’re developing novel software tools for doing this kind of science. That has helped the team as it’s come up against all kinds of computational and technical challenges. Nonetheless, the model’s outputs have been widely consistent with current understandings of ecosystems."

Although the challenge this research and project will big and tough, Microsoft is indeed persistent to make it possible--giving everyone the thought on the important role of technology in contributing to our environment's welfare. TonerGreen like Microsoft aims to help contribute to energy conservation, sustainability, and environmental responsibility through providing environmentally responsible printing solutions like remanufactured toner cartridges and remanufactured ink cartridges.

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