Analytics & Machine Learning Enable A Good Buzz

By Mat Dirjish

Analytics specialist SAS is on a mission to save the world’s “numero uno” food crop pollinator: the honey bee. And the company is using Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and visual analytics technologies to do so. SAS is hosting three separate projects where technology is monitoring, tracking, and improving pollinator populations globally.

  1. SAS IoT Division researchers are developing a bioacoustic monitoring system to noninvasively track real-time conditions of beehives using digital signal processing tools and machine learning algorithms available in SAS Event Stream Processing and SAS Viya software. This system helps beekeepers understand and predict hive problems that can lead to colony failure, including the emergence of new queens.
  2. SAS is launching a data visualization platform that maps out global bee count for the World Bee Count, an initiative co-founded by the Center for Analytics Research and Education (CARE) at Appalachian State University. The goal of a World Bee Count is to engage citizens across the world to take pictures of bees as a first step toward understanding the reasons for their alarming decline.
  3. The company’s Viya Hackathon winners decoded bee communication through machine learning to maximize their food access. Representing the Nordic region, a team from Amesto NextBridge won the 2020 SAS EMEA Hackathon, which challenged participants to improve sustainability using SAS Viya. Their winning project uses machine learning to maximize bees’ access to food. In partnership with Beefutures, the team accomplished this by developing a system capable of automatically detecting, decoding and mapping bee “waggle” dances using Beefutures’ observation hives and SAS Viya.

The systematic real-time monitoring of waggle dances allows bees to act as sensors for their ecosystems. Further research employing this technology may uncover other information bees may communicate through dance. For higher illumination, watch the waggle-dance video. Also, visit SAS.

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