Earth Summit 2022 Recap

Apr 28, 2022

Earth Summit 2022 reemerged from the pandemic stronger than ever, with a far greater reach and a slew of new partners and participants.

Thank you for all of your support LA County Chief Sustainability Office, Microsoft, Maven Wave, Wilson Sonsini, The AI Responsibility Lab, Starburst Aerospace Accelerator, Bioscience LA, and ClimateChange.AI.

This year, we hosted an in-person gathering with speakers and attendees at the BioscienceLA Collaboration Hub in Culver City, while live-streaming to a global audience representing over 14 countries.

Todd Terrazas, Executive Director of AI LA kicked off the event by expressing his excitement about returning to in-person and discussing the history behind the annual event and its transformation over the years.

The insights gathered from our past experiments running hackathons and events provided us with an opportunity to do something different this year. We’ve been experimenting with the idea of an extended hackathon since 2019. The pandemic allowed us to take a breath and focus on a strategy incorporating what we do best: content, connection, and collaboration.

The Open Innovation Studio became a new program in 2022 to support lifelong learners in their personal development, by facilitating challenge-based learning exercises on behalf of stakeholders, like LA County. 

Our first Spring Open Innovation Challenge (OIC) was co-created by the Chief Sustainability Office of LA County to find the most efficient solution using satellite imagery to detect invasive pests in LA County's tree canopy. Invasive pests are killing our trees and fueling our wildfires. This problem is a high priority for LA County and we were honored to play a role in facilitating a challenge that invited our community to develop solutions using a multi-disciplinary approach. 

77 undergraduate, graduate, and industry professionals participated in this challenge that kicked off on March 18th. 

Kick-off Weekend OICSpring22

During our kickoff weekend, teams were provided context and instructions on the problem by Rebecca Ferdman, LA County Sustainability Policy Advisor, along with tutorial workshops on Computer Vision with Python by Elijah Cole, Modeling Approach with Brian Ray, Maven Wave and Brian Dolan, Verdant AI, and an Interactive Design Workshop led by Rachel Joy Victor, Head of Design, AI LA Open Innovation Studio. 

This year’s Earth Summit would host the first ‘Demo Day’ for our Spring OIC, where out of ten teams, three were invited to present.   
More information on the winners can be found below.

Following Mr. Terrazas’s opening statement, was a pre-recorded video of opening remarks by Loretta Whitesides, Founder, Juan M. Lavista Ferres, Chief Scientist and Lab director at Microsoft AI for Good Research Lab, Gary Gero, Chief Sustainability Officer of LA County, and LA County Board Supervisors Kuehl and Solis. 

Each speaker expressed their appreciation for the work AI LA has been doing as a convener of minds focused on solving our planet’s greatest challenge, climate change. 

Following all of the opening remarks, Elizabeth Reynolds, Accelerator Program Director at Starburst Aerospace, led a panel discussion on Aerospace R&D Supporting Climate Change. 

Susan Ying - SVP Global Operations, AMPAIRE
Anita Sengupta
- Founder/CEO, Hydroplane
Robbie Robertson - CEO/CO-Founder, Sedaro

Rachel Joy Victor, Head of Design for AI LA’s Open Innovation Studio program led a panel on Accelerating Sustainability with Digital Twins. 

Chris Andrews
- COO/Head of Product, Rendered.AI
Nikhil Deshmukh - Senior Data Scientist, Turntide Technologies
Robbie Robertson - CEO/CO-Founder, Sedaro

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, Karthik Kashinath - Senior Developer Technology Scientist and Engineer, NVIDIA could not participate in the entire panel discussion. We will be following up with a supplemental interview in the coming weeks. 

Jeremy Dann, a professor at USC Marshall Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, led a panel discussion on How Earth Observation Data Supports Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A very timely topic, now that Stanford has published a new HAI Policy Brief on Using Satellite Imagery to Understand and Promote Sustainable Development.

Lilly Thomas, Machine Learning Engineer, Development Seed
Hemali Vyas, Project Development Leadership, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Brittany Zajic, Business Development Manager, Planet

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, Kimberley Miner, Earth & Climate Scientist, NASA JPL could not participate in the panel discussion. We will be following up with a supplemental interview in the coming weeks.

Our final panel discussion on Investing in Climate Tech was led Raychel Espiritu, Venture Outreach Manager, Alliance for Southern California Innovation.

Kyle Adkins
- Partner, FullCycle
Tarek Waked - Founding Partner, Type One Ventures
Valentina Rodriguez - Investor, Wonder Ventures 

OICSpring22 Demo Day

Following our day of thought leadership in the climate tech arena transitioned us into our first ‘Demo Day’ where teams from the spring Open Innovation Challenge 2022 presented their solutions to help LA County determine the location of sick trees in our tree canopy using publicly accessed satellite data, machine learning, and human-centered design. 

Three teams, out of ten were invited to present during OICSpring22 Demo Day.

Teams were judged on the following criteria: 
* Innovation
* Technical Implementation 
* Functionality 
* User Experience 
* Shareability 
* Alignment with challenge 
* Presentation

1st place: 

Seth Docherty, Tridev Raut , Nagaraju Donikena, Lyle Wright, Wendy Talaro 

Runner up


Jimin Yoon, Yanhao Shen, Ming Wang, William Han
We developed an ML model to predict the infestation levels at Los Angeles regions and a set of Python API to update the Webmap on ArcGIS with newly predicted data.


Ismaeel Babur, Mauricio Cordero, Michael ‘Caco’ Peguero
We used deep learning on geospatial data to predict trees that are infested by GSOB and ISHB beetles.

This is an active blog, which will be updated sporadically as new information becomes available. Please revisit this page in a few days. 

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Todd Terrazas
AI LA, Executive Director

As an innovator in the tech information and education space, Todd focuses on creating a robust ecosystem of resources and collaborative partnerships that can enhance LA's AI literacy, catalyze innovation, and advance workforce development opportunities.