The top 5 people in artificial-intelligence sustainability

It's easy to feel doom and gloom on environmental data, but a group of founders, researchers, and executives are taking a solutions-oriented approach to the climate crisis.

Applying artificial intelligence to sustainability is nothing new for this bunch. Among the top 100 people who are making AI intelligent, here are our picks for sustainability AI.

Patrick Beukema

Patrick Beukema Allen Institute for AI
Patrick Beukema, an engineer at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Allen Institute for AI

Beukema has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and has worked on AI models for brain decoding, which analyzes the brain's activity to decipher what people are seeing and thinking. He also helped develop other AI models in the legal field. He's now an engineer at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence focusing on ocean conservation. Beukema works on Skylight, which uses machine-learning models to spot suspicious vessel behavior — such as illegal fishing — and alert authorities.

Himanshu Gupta

Himanshu Gupta Climate Ai
Himanshu Gupta, a cofounder and the CEO of ClimateAi.Climate Ai

In 2013 and 2014, Gupta led carbon modeling for the Indian government's emissions project submitted for the Paris Agreement, which revealed to him just how vulnerable supply chains and communities are to environmental changes. From his dorm room at Stanford, where he studied environmental science and business, Gupta cofounded ClimateAi, an AI-enabled climate-resilience platform for businesses. Since 2017, the company has received $38 million in funding and counts brands such as The Wonderful Company and Dole Food among its customers.

Jason Koeller

Jason Koeller Chemix
Jason Koeller, a cofounder and the CTO at Chemix.Chemix

In 2021 Koeller cofounded Chemix, a startup that leverages AI to find the right chemistries for electric-vehicle batteries to help reduce the industry's reliance on mined materials including cobalt, lithium, and nickel. Koeller has a background in theoretical physics and experimental battery science. His academic connections also extend to a partnership with the University of Toronto to continue research on environmentally sound battery creation and usage in Canada. Chemix has received more than $10 million in seed funding and counts former leaders from Tesla and Apple among its executives.

Karen Panetta

Karen Panetta Tufts University School of Engineering
Karen Panetta has been a professor at Tufts University since 1994.Tufts University School of Engineering

Panetta's contributions to the field of computational science have been recognized since the 1990s. Her work to advance computer vision and algorithmic simulations has aided applications across disciplines, from improving medical imaging to tracking elephants in Kenya to conserving the world's oceans. She made history as the first female electrical engineer to receive tenure at Tufts University's electrical and computer engineering department, where she's worked as a professor since 1994. Panetta has also advised world leaders and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from former President Barack Obama in 2010.

Antoine Rostand

Antoine Rostand Kayrros
Antoine Rostand, a cofounder and the president of Kayrros.Anthony Harvey Getty Images

Rostand was a field engineer in the oil-and-gas industry before founding Schlumberger Business Consulting, a leading energy-consulting firm. In 2016, he founded Kayrros, which combines satellite images and other data with machine learning and software algorithms to monitor and measure natural-resource activity across the world. It got started with tracking oil production and storage, but now tracks methane emissions, rainforest degradation, and climate-related data.

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