Computing Research Policy Blog

The Computing Research Association (or CRA) has been involved in shaping public policy of relevance to computing research for more than two decades. More recently the CRA Government Affairs program has enhanced its efforts to help the members of the computing research community contribute to the public debate knowledgeably and effectively.


NSF Funded AI Powered Microscope Showcased at the 2019 CNSF Exhibition


On April 30th, the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), an alliance of over 140 professional organizations, universities, and businesses, held their 25th Annual Capitol Hill Exhibition. CNSF supports the goal of increasing the federal investment in the National Science Foundation’s research and education programs, and the exhibition itself is a great way to show members of Congress and their staff what research the American people have funded.

Vito Pastore of IBM Research demonstrates his AI powered microscope to an attendee at the 2019 CNSF Exhibition.

This year the Computing Research Association, a member of CNSF, sponsored Vito Pastore, a postdoctoral researcher ay IBM Research, who works in Simone Bianco’s Cellular Engineering team in collaboration with Thomas Zimmerman. Dr. Pastore demonstrated a low cost microscope which, when used with an artificial intelligence program he created, can identify and monitor plankton, in real time, in water samples. The overall research effort is attempting to see if it’s possible to use plankton as a biosensor to monitor the health of waterways and other water systems. With a cheap, easy to use microscope, combined with the AI program, it would be possible for easy checking of water samples by almost anyone.

Vito Pastore of IBM Research demonstrates his AI powered microscope to an attendee at the 2019 CNSF Exhibition.

This work received support from the Directorate of Biological sciences at NSF. Dr. Pastore’s presentation was well received by the attendees of the exhibition, fielding questions from Congressional staffers, NSF Program Officers, and other attendees of the exhibition.

Vito Pastore of IBM Research demonstrates his AI powered microscope to an attendee at the 2019 CNSF Exhibition.

A number of other organizations had displays and were demonstrating NSF funded research at the event. From the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation’s, “Breaking New Ground: Computational Science at the Forefront of Discovery;” to the American Mathematical Society’s, “Power Domination: How Zero Forcing is Used to Monitor an Electric Power Grid;” to the University of California’s, “Advancing Propulsion and Energy Technologies Using Laser-Based Sensors;” the exhibition was a great display of the different types of research being supported by NSF.

NSF Funded AI Powered Microscope Showcased at the 2019 CNSF Exhibition