Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How GPUs Help Track Threatened Animal Species

It’s not true that if you’ve seen one zebra you’ve seen them all. But unless researchers can get a handle on their real numbers, it one day may be. To do that, you have to be able to identify individual zebras and — as Tanya Berger-Wolf discovered after spending 25 minutes trying to identify a specific zebra — that’s even harder than it sounds.

A zebra’s stripes are as subtly individual as human fingerprints. “I thought I was going to lose my mind,” admits Berger-Wolf, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. So Berger-Wolf helped create a solution that harnesses publicly shared videos — and GPUs — to speed up the task of identifying individual animals of all kinds.