UniSey leads conference on AI for climate solutions  in the built environment

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UniSey leads conference on AI for climate solutions  in the built environment
UniSey leads conference on AI for climate solutions  in the built environment

Africa-Press – Seychelles. Artificial intelligence offers immense potential to enhance energy efficiency, optimise resource allocation and facilitate smarter urban planning. It was in this context that the University of Seychelles in collaboration with Aksaray University of Turkey and the University of Mauritius, yesterday hosted the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Computer, Data Sciences, and Application (ACDSA 2024).

The one-day event at the Anse Royale campus, marked a significant step in fostering international academic collaboration.

The primary focus of the conference was to discuss the development of artificial intelligence (AI) predictive models to support climate mitigation and adaptation solutions for the built environment. This initiative underscores the importance of leveraging advanced technology to address pressing global challenges, particularly those related to climate change.

In his opening address, dean of the faculty of Arts and Social Development, Dr Justin Zelime, stated that in the current age of unprecedented technological advancements, the conference served as a powerful nexus for the exchange of cutting-edge ideas and transformative discoveries in the realm of Artificial Intelligence, Computer, Data Sciences, and Application (ACDSA).

“The interconnectivity of these different fields is paving the way for revolutionary breakthroughs that are shaping the future of our interconnected world,” said Dr Zelime.

Furthermore, Dr Zelime acknowledged the impact that AI has on virtually every aspect of the social lives from healthcare, economics, engineering, environment, education and beyond. He added that the ethical considerations, societal implications, the responsible and sustainable development of these technologies are integral components of the general discourse.

In his presentation, Dr Mahendra Gooroochurn from the University of Mauritius, reached several conclusions based on climate mitigation and AI. To begin with, he noted that passive design and nature-based solutions are key for the built environment as a powerful lever for climate adaptation and mitigation.

There should be flexible passive design that allows a further step to be taken towards climate action.

Moreover, an Industry 4.0 paradigm based on IoT data collection for decision making and optimisation represents an interesting avenue to provide bespoke AI-based solutions for homes and commercial spaces.

An industry 4.0 enables physical assets to be integrated into intertwined digital and physical processes thus creating smart factories and intelligent manufacturing environments.

Most notably, blockchain, a decentralised, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers, can be used to enhance cybersecurity in data communication channels.

The reinforcement learning is a promising area to allow development of these underlying AI models for thermal and hydraulic characteristics at site level.

To expand on these ideas, Dr Gooroochurn stated that climate change is affecting a lot of islands, be it Seychelles or Mauritius and other small islands developing states that are very vulnerable. Therefore, it was very important that “we start incorporating the community more and more into our action plan. If we take action only at a policy level and it does not permutate at the level that matters, it is not that impactful.”

This needs to happen through education, he added.

“The scientist or lecturer needs to simplify the language, it has to be very laymen language and at the same time, show to people very concretely, practically what they should do.”

Dr Gooroochurn also spoke about the concept that he had come up with, which is a circular home based on the energy, water and materials whereby the water can regenerate natural systems, the energy can design out waste and pollution and the materials keep the products in use.

He said unfortunately there are many frameworks out there that are too complicated and there are also many measures which put certain people off.

What Dr Gooroochurn is proposing at a technical level is to integrate AI into these solutions over time. However, he reiterated that it has to be very simplistic from the first instance, before heading off into any other direction.

When questioned with whether non-Western countries are at a level where we can technologically be able to accomplish these goals, he was confident in his response. “Summer is going to become warmer and vulnerable people will suffer more, at school also. People are going to be face hot temperatures and they are not going to be able to study,” answered Dr Gooroochurn.

The literature shows that in offices, people will not be able to work well. The solution is to prevent the sun from eradiating the building, whether it be a home or an office. “What I find that is nice in Seychelles is that there are trees all around buildings which will regulate the heat a lot. But in places, where you do not have trees, you need to find ways to shade your building,” he added.

The one-day session, which comprised various presentations on Big Data and Data Science, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, Embedded Systems and robotics among others, ended late in the afternoon.

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