Digital Agriculture

Creating the intelligent and sustainable farms and farming practices of the future.


Grainger Engineering is committed to promoting and supporting research in agricultural sustainability and productivity, led by experts in the Center for Digital Agriculture (CDA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The CDA gathers researchers focusing on the primary themes of automation, data, animals and crops, and people

With projects like autonomous robotic planting, mechanical weeding, multimodal networking solutions for rural broadband connectivity, programmable plant systems and more, our researchers partner with farmers and industry to feed and meet the needs of a growing population. 

Center for Digital Agriculture

CDA helps producers, researchers and industries keep pace with the latest advances in agricultural technology. With resources like the Illinois Digital Farm Infrastructure and Digital Agriculture Data Collaboratory, CDA fosters interdisciplinary research to address fundamental challenges at the frontiers of computing, engineering, agriculture and food.

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Partners, Programs & Initiatives

The Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management, and Sustainability Institute serves as a nexus for multidisciplinary research teams that advance foundational AI and use these advances to address important challenges facing world agriculture. AI-FARM places strong emphasis on technologies that impact production practices, on developing a diverse technically skilled workforce in digital agriculture, and on supporting women and minority farmers.

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The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) is where science meets society - an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to transformative research and technology in life sciences using team-based strategies to tackle grand societal challenges.

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ACES is committed to discovering, advancing, and integrating new knowledge to ensure nutritious and safe food, sustainable and innovative agriculture, strong and economically resilient families and communities, and environmentally sustainable use of natural resources to benefit the people of Illinois and the world.

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ABE students and faculty design and manage technological solutions to problems in agricultural, food and other biological systems, including sustainable bioprocessing and industrial biotechnology, robotics and automation for agricultural systems, soil and water resources engineering, bioenvironmental engineering, agricultural and industrial safety and health, and more.

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I-FARM stands for “Illinois Farming and Regenerative Management.” This University of Illinois-led study — funded for three years and $3.9M by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) — is developing an 80-acre agricultural testbed, where commodity crops, cover crops, and livestock are farmed using synergistic, sustainable practices.

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The Illinois Autonomous Farm unites researchers, industry leaders, educators, and stakeholders to drive research, education, and outreach for autonomous systems in agriculture across Illinois. Launched in 2020 as a joint effort between the Illinois Center for Digital Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE), the Autonomous Farm is a shared testbed facility to advance artificial intelligence research for agriculture.

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Since 1986, NCSA has been home to pioneering partnerships that have not just moved the needle but taken the world in bold new directions. NCSA's advanced cyberinfrastructure and expertise provide a hub for transdisciplinary research that unites academic institutions and global companies in search of the answers to the world’s most challenging problems and help us meet the needs of future generations.

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Deepak Vasisht, assistant professor, Computer Science, UIUC

"CDA presents a unique opportunity to bring diverse research areas together and focus them on problems in the digital agriculture space. I am very excited about the technologies being developed at CDA and their potential impact on food security and sustainability across the world."

Deepak Vashist
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

AI is important to tackle a number of challenges that cannot be addressed using conventional technologies. Importantly, judicious use of AI-based techniques can enable low-cost solutions for these tasks that are accessible to both small-scale and large-scale farms.”

Vikram Adve
Professor, Computer Science

M.Eng. in Digital Agriculture

Grainger Engineering and the Center for Digital Agriculture offers the first interdisciplinary program specializing in digital architecture with this fully online, non-thesis Master of Engineering (M.Eng.). 

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