Topher White

Founder and CEO, Rainforest Connection

Topher White is Founder and CEO of Rainforest Connection. Topher has experience building systems for large and small startups as well as international science projects, including four years working on nuclear fusion at ITER, in France. He has received multiple accolades for his work, including being named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a Draper-Richards-Kaplan (DRK) Fellow and an “Engineering Hero” by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Topher’s background is primarily in Physics, software development and Communication, having received a degree in Physics at Kenyon College and going on to work for years at SLAC Natl Accelerator Lab (High Energy Physics) and the ITER Organization (Nuclear Fusion) in France. Along the way, he also served as CTO for two startups in San Francisco, where he obtained industry-level experience in software development — the foundation of the Rainforest Connection platform.

Past sessions

Summit Europe 2020 Acoustics & AI for Conservation

November 18, 2020 04:00 PM PT

Rainforest Connection (RFCx) is a nonprofit startup at the forefront of conservation technology committed to applying the most effective and timely technology to protect the planet's precious, ancient forests and wildlife. RFCx listens to threatened ecosystems remotely, using commonplace mobile tech and existing telecommunications infrastructure, and transforms these audio streams into a profound and automatic understanding of the soundscape using AI/ML, rooting out any threats and monitoring for biodiversity. Models for sounds like chainsaws, vehicles, gunshots, and hounds allow for coverage of large expanses of land and real-time protection. RFCx is able to cheaply and effectively protect regions around the world, with current projects in 14 countries on 5 continents monitoring over 3,000 sq km.

Over the last year, Rainforest Connection has expanded its vision by harnessing and further developing the tools created for analyzing rainforest sounds for illegal logging, to empower scientists to study all ecosystem types, including forest and marine. The RFCx Bioacoustics Platform brings scientists and data scientists together to use AI/ML models to monitor for endangered and threatened species health. Our goal is to create the world's largest ongoing collaborative species accounting project that can aggregate acoustic data from various sources to enable deep learning models to ingest, analyze and interpret audio-data at scale to support research and conservation. We have completed the MVP for the RFCx Bioacoustics Platform, which will become the most advanced, online interface for bioacoustics study in order to monitor ecosystem health and catalyze new ecological discoveries.

Speaker: Topher White