The ISE Hub Digital Sciences for Environment and Health is active at the intersection of two of the greatest challenges of the 21st century: Information Society and Sustainable Society.
Our main objective is to better exploit digital sciences to inform the general public and decision makers on issues of the environment based on the best available scientific knowledge. The main clusters of expertise are in the fields of geomatics, statistics, computer science and modeling of environmental processes.
The vision of this hub is to create a competence center that meets the needs of our society and the more fundamental issues related to the complexity of natural systems and their interactions with human activities. At a time when many people continue to wonder about the exact nature of the environmental problems of our century, it appears all the more important and urgent to be able to answer as clearly as possible to these questions, and to train the generation of future decision-makers could make better use of information technology.
The Environmental Informatics Hub focuses on three main objectives:
- Education: promoting teaching in the large domain of digital sciences for Environmental Sciences, in base curricula, complementary certificates and continuous education programs
- Research: develop joint research projects (SNF projects, European projects, etc.)
- Services: develop services to the whole community (support tools for decision cantonal, federal, international organizations, etc.)
The main areas of expertise of the cluster are described in more details below.
The University of Geneva has a long tradition in the field of the use of Geomatics (or Geographic Information Systems) in environmental science. Currently, four research groups working in this field (enviroSPACE, INFOGEO, ISE/GRID, GeoHealth) and activities are grouped under the acronym for TIGERS Information Technology for Geography and Environment: Research and Services (www.unige.ch/tigers). TIGERS's objectives are to:
- Coordinate and promote the activities of the University of Geneva using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS);
- Learn about the different courses available on GIS and RS at UNIGE;
- Coordinate resources and spatial data infrastructures (SDI) for research and teaching;
- Providing services using GIS, RS and SDI to different users via TIGERS partners;
- Develop a social network (physical and virtual) interested to Information in Geography and Environmental Technologies;
- Organize a series of conferences on Information Technologies in Geography and Environment.
Statistics is used in almost all areas addressed by the University of Geneva. The Faculty of Economics and Management provides a significant effort in terms of training, particularly through its Master in Statistics, its Complementary Certificate in Applied Statistics, and hosts the Research Center in Statistics.
Statistical research is a growing area and its areas of application are also on the rise. Public, private and academic sectors are constantly in search of data, methods and models to enable them to make informed decisions or conclusions in uncertain scenarios. On the one hand, it is necessary to group and understand the data and then select the most appropriate techniques for their analysis. On the other hand, it is increasingly important for these techniques to be as accurate and precise as possible in order to reduce the risks in the procedure of decision or conclusions based on research.
Members of the Research Center in Statistics are active in basic and applied research, and actively contribute to the creation and improvement of methods and statistical techniques. They do this by constantly bringing new international collaborations that offer advantages in terms of quality and importance of their research activities.
Informatics and modeling
Many researchers and University researchers use Informatics and Modeling so sophisticated in all sorts of areas. However, it is undoubtedly the Centre Universitaire d'Informatique (CUI) that gathers much of the expertise in the field.
The CUI occupies a recognized place among IT research laboratories of international renown. The scientific activities are organized around ten teams bringing together a hundred researchers. The CUI creates favorable conditions for teaching and research in computer science and communication technologies throughout the University. The CUI works in collaboration with Faculties of Science, Economics and Management, Social Sciences, and Letters.
The Master in Computer Science offers extensive training in scientific computing. It includes courses addressing different aspects such as modeling of natural processes, data mining, information retrieval, human-machine interfaces, cryptography and security, distributed computing, automatic language processing or modeling knowledge.