The AI 4 Climate meetup at NeurIPS 2023 (left). Sungduk Yu presenting ClimSim, A large multi-scale dataset for hybrid physics-ML climate emulation. I was very moved by his presentation (right).
Tackling climate change with machine learning
The main focus for my week at NeurIPS was the Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning workshop organized by Climate Change AI (CCAI), a non-profit organization at the forefront of the intersection of these fields. Thanks to Carbon Re’s links with CCAI, I met Priya Donti, chair and Co-founder at CCAI as well as assistant professor at MIT and it was great to see that there are truly amazing people working in this field.
I presented our research at the poster session during CCAI’s workshop and was excited to speak to other researchers in our niche, but growing field. While presenting my work to young researchers, I had an impromptu visit from Yoshua Bengio, with whom I had a fantastic conversation about the limitations of the work, and ways to improve it in the future. I was also happy to see many of the people that I had connected with at the two AI for climate meetups that I had set up earlier in the week.
As I was scoured through the posters around the room at the Experimental Design workshop, I found a poster with a title that instantly caught my attention: Sustainable Concrete via Bayesian Optimization. The author wasn’t there so I sent them a message and within an hour I was talking to Meta Research Scientist Sebastian Ament face to face. He was incredibly nice and all too familiar with the importance of our mission at Carbon Re. His work involves finding ways to build data centres in more sustainable ways, which includes reducing the emissions from the concrete itself. It was very refreshing to (finally) speak to someone about cement and AI without having to start with explaining how cement is made.
At the AI for Accelerated Material Design workshop, I listened to a presentation by Sherrie Yang. She was presenting her work on UniMat, a diffusion model that can find new materials. This was particularly interesting as finding alternatives to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) is an important avenue to decarbonizing the cement industry.