Yolanda Gil Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Geoinformatics – USC Viterbi

Yolanda Gil

Yolanda Gil

On Sunday, October 9, 2022, Yolanda Gil of USC’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI) was recognized with the M. Lee Allison Award for outstanding contributions to geospatial and data science at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. She is the first computer scientist to receive this award.

Every year, the prize honors a single person “who has made outstanding contributions to geology through the application of the principles of geoinformatics”. In the field of geospatial science, researchers and scientists apply cutting-edge tools and research results from the information science world to address the problems of geosciences.

Gil, who serves as Viterbi’s Director for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Strategy, has been recognized countless times in computer science and engineering societies. This award is particularly exciting as it recognizes Gil’s contributions to another discipline.

Yolanda Gil with GSA President Mark Little

Gil’s recent research in artificial intelligence includes tools for task-oriented collaboration for water resources, crowdsourcing vocabulary standards for climate data, and intelligent support for modeling interventions in the face of natural disasters. She is best known for the Geoscience Papers of the Future, an initiative she spearheads that promotes the best principles for reproducible research, open science, and digital science in the earth, ocean, atmospheric, and geospace sciences.

Gil has been heavily involved in the direction of EarthCube, a National Science Foundation program involving interdisciplinary researchers from the fields of earth science, computer science and social science. Gil took her work directly to the field, leading an NSF EarthCube EC3 (EarthCentered Communication for Cyberinfrastructure) field trip to Yosemite National Park and Owens Valley, where she was accompanied by computer scientists, geologists, and social scientists. There, computer scientists were able to observe the work of geologists in the field, uncovering the need for cyber infrastructure for field research and bridging the gap between the two disciplines. In 2019, she received the inaugural EarthCube Legacy Award in recognition of her significant and lasting impact on engineering foundations, community building and mentoring.

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“Together, we have articulated a long-term vision for AI in Earth Sciences, with challenges that are both enticing and rewarding,” Gil said in her acceptance speech. “I am very excited about this research agenda and the expansion of our interdisciplinary community in the years to come.”

Published on October 21, 2022

Last updated on October 21, 2022

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