He receives IBM grant to model extreme weather impacts on economy

Jingrui He
Jingrui He, Associate Professor and MSIM Program Director

It is evident that Hurricane Ian's recent devastation in Florida will impact the state economically for years to come. Tragedies such as this have motivated scientists to gain a better understanding of when such events might occur and how to cope with them once they do.

"It is critical to identify anomalous climate patterns, based on which reliable predictions can be made regarding future extreme weather events, in time for counter measures to be taken in other domains such as finance and economy," said Associate Professor Jingrui He.

He was recently awarded $75,000 from IBM for a one-year project that will help her team begin work in modeling unusual climate patterns. Hanghang Tong, associate professor of computer science at Illinois, will serve as co-PI on the project.

"We aim to model the complex relationship between the local economy and weather-related features. In doing so, we propose novel cross-domain contrastive learning to build the connection between the climate domain and the financial domain," He said. "The proposed work aligns well with IBM's technology and product vision for the future of our climate, in terms of advancing artificial intelligence to accelerate the ability of clients, policymakers, and communities to address climate change."

While the IBM seed grant allows He's team to initiate the work, the researchers will seek additional funding to expand upon the project.

He's general research theme is to design, build, and test a suite of automated and semi-automated methods to explore, understand, characterize, and predict real-world data by means of statistical machine learning. She received her PhD in machine learning from Carnegie Mellon University.

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