IJCAI 2023
Conference paper

Forecasting Soil Moisture Using Domain Inspired Temporal Graph Convolution Neural Networks To Guide Sustainable Crop Management

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Agriculture faces unprecedented challenges due to climate change, population growth, and water scarcity. These challenges highlight the need for efficient resource usage to optimize crop production. Conventional techniques for forecasting hydrological response features, such as soil moisture, rely on physics-based and empirical hydrological models, which necessitate significant time and domain expertise. Drawing inspiration from traditional hydrological modeling, a novel temporal graph convolution neural network has been constructed. This involves grouping units based on their time-varying hydrological properties, constructing graph topologies for each cluster based on similarity using dynamic time warping, and utilizing graph convolutions and a gated recurrent neural network to forecast soil moisture. The method has been trained, validated, and tested on field-scale time series data spanning 40 years in northeastern United States. Results show that using domain-inspired clustering with time series graph neural networks is more effective in forecasting soil moisture than existing models. This framework is being deployed as part of a pro bono social impact program that leverages hybrid cloud and AI technologies to enhance and scale non-profit and government organizations. The trained models are currently being deployed on a series of small-holding farms in central Texas.