CEA Forum

[September 10th, 2020] Autonomous Greenhouse Forum

September 10th Forum

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2020
Time: Starting at 12PM Eastern (~2.5 hrs)
Place: Zoom (hosted by OSU)
RSVP: Please pre-register, click here

Autonomous greenhouse is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) in CEA but will become critical for our future development of CEA technologies (including applications to low tech and high tech CEA).

Please sign up if you would like to join the conversation. This will be the first step to build a community to identify R&D needs through industry-academic collaborations.

Main presenter & panel members

  • Ken Tran (Koidra) – Presenter
  • Chieri Kubota (The Ohio State University) – Moderator
  • Chris Higgins (HortAmericas) – Panelist

See more details about the speakers below.

Agenda (all in US Eastern Time)

  • 12:00 PM – Welcome and Introduction to Forum
  • 12:10 PM – “Autonomous Greenhouse: The State of the Art” by Ken Tran
  • 1:00 PM – Q&A
  • 1:30 PM – Panel Discussion

    Where are we in the technological status? What do we need to do? What opportunities do we see as precompetitive collaborations?


Ken Tran (CTO, Koidra) - Presenter

Presentation title: “Autonomous Greenhouse: The State of the Art”

Before Koidra, Kenneth was a Principal Applied Scientist in the Machine Learning Group, Microsoft Research (MSR). While at MSR, he led the Sonoma team winning the 2018 autonomous greenhouse challenge, becoming the only AI team that outperformed expert Dutch growers.

Ken’s research expertise and experience include Reinforcement Learning, Deep Learning, Optimization, and Distributed Computing. At Microsoft, he led the research and development for strategic AI projects such as

In addition, Kenneth was a co-founder and lead mentor of Microsoft’s AI School.

Kenneth received his PhD in Computational & Applied Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012.

Chieri Kubota (Professor, The Ohio State University) – Moderator

A horticulture and crop sciences professor in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Kubota is considered a game changer in the world of controlled environment agriculture.

Kubota teaches CFAES students about the future of sustainable food production. Her research mission is to serve in the development of science and technology in the area of controlled environment agriculture. Her projects are in an interdisciplinary area that encompasses plant physiology and horticultural engineering to enhance understanding and efficiency of Controlled Environment Agriculture plant production systems such as greenhouses, warehouses (vertical farms), and growth chambers.

Chris Higgins (President & General Manager, HortAmericas) - Panelist

Mr. Higgins is the President and General Manager of Hort Americas, LLC (HortAmericas.com) a wholesale supply company servicing all aspects of the commercial horticultural industries. Over the past years Hort Americas has had a special focus on horticultural lighting, hydroponics substrate and nutrient management making them one of the leading resources for greenhouse and vertically farmed vegetable growers.

He is also owner of UrbanAgNews.com (online education content provider) and was a founding partner of the Foundation for the Development of Controlled Environment Agriculture and the International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture in Panama. With over 20 years of industry experience, Chris is dedicated to the commercial horticulture industry and is inspired by the current opportunities for continued innovation in the field of controlled environment agriculture.

Chris is a leader in providing technical assistance to businesses, including commercial greenhouse operations, state-of-the-art hydroponic vegetable facilities, vertical farms, and tissue culture laboratories. In his role at Hort Americas he works with seed companies, manufacturers of horticultural supplies and equipment, growers and universities regarding the development of projects, new products and ultimately the creation of brands. Chris’ role includes everything from sales and marketing to technical support and general management/owner responsibilities.

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