Rosemarie Day Wins the Intel® AI Interplanetary Challenge

Published: 09/11/2018  

Last Updated: 09/11/2018

A Solution for Measuring Deforestation Using Intel® AI Technologies
Takes First Prize as the Six-week Super Explorer Mission Concludes

Solving the challenges of space exploration using Intel® AI technologies:  that was the mission of the Intel® AI Interplanetary Challenge.  Now, a champion has emerged from the scores of space enthusiast AI developers who learned about, and then competed to solve, space-related challenges. The just-completed Challenge, staged in two parts as a basic Cadet Explorer Mission and more advanced Super Explorer Mission, was co-hosted by Intel and the Planetary Society.

For her innovative solution – using AI to measure how the earth’s forests are changing over time – Rosemarie Day was named grand prize winner. Day, an IoT DevOps engineer and Intel® Software Innovator based in Hartford, CT area, proposed using Intel® AI technologies to classify plants and analyze deforestation in the Amazon rain forest using Landsat satellite imagery.  Her solution involves building a model with classifiers for location, plant type, and deforestation using the Intel® Optimization for Tensorflow*.  In addition to measuring deforestation, her concept could also be extended to datasets for identifying population growth, urbanization, and animal migration patterns.  

Inspiration for this project came from Day’s previous research on how weather changes could affect migraines and headaches in susceptible individuals.  Looking at weather changes on a larger scale, along with satellite images of earth, Day suggests that population growth and urbanization can be analyzed in terms of the effects of human migration from rural to urban areas.  By analyzing images of the Earth’s surface, alongside widely available data such as weather data and natural disasters, patterns in urbanization and deforestation could emerge based on changes of weather compared to human migration.

A Grand-prize Trip to See the Stars

For her inventive application of AI in space science, Day will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles, CA to enjoy lunch and conversation with science personality Bill Nye and “Star Trek” actor and science advocate Robert Picardo.

Throughout the Super Explorer Mission stage of the Intel® AI Interplanetary Challenge, multiple projects were selected each week to receive fun prizes from Intel and the Planetary Society. 

An AI-themed Space Adventure in Two Parts

Designed for AI-focused software developers with a passion for space adventure, the Intel AI Interplanetary Challenge consisted of two phases:  a six-week introductory Cadet Explorer Mission, and a more advanced six-week Super Explorer Mission.

To qualify for consideration, Super Explorer Mission submissions were required to: 

  • Be relevant to actual space science, not science fiction.
  • Incorporate artificial intelligence to solve the challenge.
  • Be unique, innovative, practical and achievable.
  • Include the use of Intel® Optimized frameworks, Intel® AI DevCloud or Intel® tools.
  • Clearly explain the proposed concept.

A Universe of Information and Inspiration

Challenge participants were invited to prepare by researching machine learning and deep learning at the Intel® AI Academy before submitting their AI-based project idea outlining how Intel® AI technologies can help solve space-related challenges.  


View a sampling of space-related content designed to inspire the contestants:

In addition to these articles, Challenge participants could view a series of space-themed videos featuring topics such as:

As Super Explorer Mission participants discovered in accessing Intel® AI Academy resources, space is not the final frontier.  In fact, the Academy is a rich repository for all applications in artificial intelligence, with essential learning materials and training paths, community support, and next-gen Intel® AI technologies.  Intel AI Academy resources were offered as a means of introducing a wider developer audience to this powerful resource.

Join the Intel® AI Academy

Sign up for Intel® AI Academy and access essential learning materials, community, tools and technology to boost your AI development.  Apply to become an AI Student Ambassador and share your expertise with other student data scientists and developers.

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