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In the last years, many European countries have experienced the effects of climate change, in the form of a scarcity of drinking water resources, prolonged periods of drought, and extremely heavy rainfall, with unprecedented dramatic environmental, economic, and social costs. Therefore, understanding, modelling, and predicting the movement and distribution of water on Earth, and effectively managing water resources is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, hydrology involves atmospheric, surface, and underground water systems, which are difficult to model on their own, and even more so when considered as a whole. As a result, modern hydrology often relies on a number of mathematical and empirical models that focus on isolated portions of the whole water cycle, thus providing only partial, defective and often times inconsistent information. Furthermore, such models are either based on complex physical theories that involve a large number of variables, which are often difficult to observe in practice, or empirically obtained from observations, thus lacking generality and adaptability and interpretability.

The ultimate goal of ANDROMEDA is to push the research frontier in the science of hydrology beyond its current limits by leveraging cutting-edge ICT methodologies, such as data analytics and deep learning techniques, in order to: (i) determine the optimal location of sensors to collect different types of environmental data; (ii) extract the most relevant features from such data, thus reducing the complexity of current hydrologic models; (iii) optimize the models’ parameters in a distributed manner to better adapt to the spatio-temporal dynamics of the underlying water system; (iv) build comprehensive and more powerful models of the whole water cycle, capable of providing more accurate prediction of extreme-yet-critical events; and (v) develop augmented and virtual reality tools to visually represent the outcome of the hydrological models, so as to increase their usability by different stakeholders.

Besides these immediate returns, ANDROMEDA will seed new applications and technical challenges into the ICT domain, fostering technological innovations in the fields of environmental sensing, low power communication, computation, distributed machine learning, and visualization tools.

Call Topic: Novel Computational Approaches for Environmental Sustainability (CES), Call 2019
Start date: (36 months)
Funding support: 411 190 €