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Federal Department of Economic Affairs,

Education and Research EAER


Master thesis: Applications of machine learning for choosing crop varieties

Test your analytic skills to sustainably increase food security

The world population will reach 9 billion by 2050. In connection with climate change, this population
growth will increase the pressures on our global food systems, calling for a sustainable intensification
of food production while increasing the systems resilience to climatic risks. Selecting crop varieties
with optimum yield potential given a particular environmental setting is key to achieving these goals.
However, evidence-based decision-support tools that could help farmers choose the most suitable
crop varieties for their fields are lacking so far. This master thesis addresses this gap by testing the
ability of different machine learning approaches to predict variety-specific wheat yields given
information on local climate, soil and topography.
The aim of this master thesis is to evaluate and develop machine learning approaches for improving
criteria to determine which wheat variety to grow in specific environments and to design more efficient
experimental networks. The student will have access to historical datasets collected at locations inside
and outside Switzerland. The outputs of the thesis will provide valuable insights to increase both food
security in developing countries and the ecological sustainability of wheat production in Switzerland.
This work will be developed through a collaboration between the Institute of Machine Learning of ETH
Zrich and Agroscope, the Swiss federal center for agricultural research that contributes to a sustainable
agriculture and food production as well as to an intact environment.
Prof. Andreas Krause (ETH), Juan Herrera (Agroscope Changins), Annelie Holzkmper (Agroscope
Reckenholz), Lilia Levy Hner (Agroscope Changins) and Didier Pellet (Agroscope Changins)
Duration: 6 months
Starting date: Anytime
Andreas Krause: ; 044 632 63 22
Juan Herrera:; 058 460 47 12