CSE students, faculty receive multiple Best Paper awards for work on smart agriculture research

UNT faculty and students in front of conference sign
Dr. Saraju Mohanty and the Smart Electronic Systems Laboratory at the 21st IEEE OITS Conference.

Our Smart Electronic Systems Laboratory research lab brought back several awards at recent IEEE events with CSE students, Sukrutha Vanipuram (PhD in CS) & Catherine Dockendorf (MS in CS), earning Best Paper awards for their research in strengthening the efficiency of smart technologies and machine learning for agriculture.

Doctoral student Sukrutha Vangipuram, Computer Science and Engineering Professor Saraju Mohanty and Electrical Engineering Professor Elias Kougianos received the Best Paper Award at the OITS International Conference on Information Technology (OCIT), held in December 2023.

The paper, titled, “agroString 2.0: A Distributed-Ledger based Smart Agriculture Framework to Ensure Transparency in Food Delivery,” discussed a method to use blockchain or distributed ledger for food supply chain management. The proposed framework work with the Internet-of-Agro-Things (IoAT) that compiles the state of the food is being gathered at different supply chain stages to monitor the agricultural product that is being stored and transmitted. In the proposed framework, the IoT-Edge device sent the statistics directly to Distributed Ledger with Masked Authenticated Message (MaM) to monitor the food supply chain.

In another conference, Doctoral student Sukrutha Vangipuram, Computer Science and Engineering Professor Saraju Mohanty and Electrical Engineering Professor Elias Kougianos received the Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Symposium on Smart Electronic Systems, held in December 2023.

The paper, titled, “W-DaM: Weather Data Management in Smart Agriculture using Blockchain-as-a-Service,” presented at the Research Demo Session of the event proposes a new method for data management in smart agriculture. Smart agriculture is a specific application of Internet-of-Agro-Things (IoAT) that connects sensors, devices, and appliances of agriculture domain for their effective management to enhance production.

“Agriculture data management is very important to improve agriculture productivity,” said Vangipuram. “For example, we have a pressure of increasing agriculture productivity with while we have reduced farmland with increased population which need more food.”

Agriculture data management, where data is generated by various agriculture domain sensors is key to gather information in agriculture cyber-physical systems (A-CPS) to make good decisions on irrigation, fertilization, and disease control. Data management in smart agriculture is more challenging than other IoT applications domains as agriculture land is typically remote with less Internet connectivity as well as electricity supply.

“The key idea behind the paper is the use of the blockchain or distributed ledger for secures and privacy assured data management in agriculture sector. “By using proposed blockchain with distributed data storage, we have effective and scalable data management in agriculture 4.0,” said she said.

Vangipuram’s research focuses on blockchain or distributed ledge for smart agriculture applications. She has co-authored 12 articles and papers within the of smart agriculture.

Similarly, master thesis student Catherine Dockendorf working on the same research area won best research demo session paper award at the IFIP International Internet of Things Conference (IFIP-IoT) in November 2023. The paper titled, “Lite-Agro: Exploring Light-Duty Computing Platforms for IoAT-Edge AI in Plant Disease Identification”, presented idea of machine learning model development using low computational power resources so that AI can be easily deployed in agriculture sector.

Dockendorf’s research focuses on edge-AI for smart agriculture. She has co-authored 2 papers.

“The key idea of our ongoing research in smart agriculture is the development methods which can be used for data management and analysis in resource-constrained environments such as agriculture”, said CSE Prof. Mohanty. “We can’t assume in the agriculture field internet connectivity is always available or power supply is always available, but we still need to compute to ensure that IoT works there as well and helping farmers”.

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering Smart Electronic Systems Laboratory (SESL), directed by Saraju Mohanty and Elias Kougianos, has graduated 14 Ph.D. and 26 M.S. thesis students. The SESL currently has 12 Ph.D. students engaged in cutting-edge research in IoT-enabled systems, smart healthcare and smart agriculture.