Microsoft executive, FarmBeats creator to discuss digital agriculture April 20

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The brain behind FarmBeats—an agricultural research project developed by Microsoft using solar-powered, white space-based Internet connectivity to record soil temperature and moisture levels and track them with cloud-based computing models—will visit Auburn University in April.

The College of Agriculture ET York Distinguished Lecturer Series will host Ranveer Chandra, chief technical officer of Agri-Food at Microsoft, at 4 pm Wednesday, April 20, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The lecture will be held in the auditorium and is free and open to the public. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP at

Chandra leads research and innovation across different industry verticals at Microsoft, including retail, floor space index, or FSI, and energy. His research has shipped in multiple Microsoft products, including XBOX, Azure, Windows and Visual Studio.

He started the FarmBeats project in 2015, which shipped as a Microsoft product in 2019. Bill Gates featured Chandra’s FarmBeats work on GatesNotes, and Chandra has been invited to present to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Chandra has published over 90 research papers and has over 100 patents granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers fellow and has won several awards, including best paper awards in computer science conferences and the MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators Under 35 Award in 2010. Chandra has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and a doctorate in computer science from Cornell University.

“We are grateful to have Dr. Chandra visiting Auburn University to share his research and expertise with our faculty, staff and students,” said Amy Wright, associate dean for instruction and chair of the ET York Distinguished Lecturer Series Committee. on the future of technological innovations in agriculture and how affordable digital techniques can empower farmers to succeed in both local and global agricultural enterprises.”

The ET York Distinguished Lecturer Series features internationally known speakers addressing issues related to agriculture, food, the environment and natural resources. It was established in the Auburn College of Agriculture in 1981 through a gift from ET and Vam Cardwell York; Both are native Alabamians and Auburn University graduates.

York served as director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service from 1959 until 1962; he then went on to head the USDA Federal Extension Service in Washington, DC Later, he served as provost and vice president for agriculture at the University of Florida and then chancellor of the State University System of Florida until his retirement in 1980.

(Written by Kristen Bowman)


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