GEMS Platform

Research objectives

GEMS is a strategic partnership between the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and MSI. GEMS aims to facilitate the interoperability and analysis of Genetics x Environment x Management x Socioeconomic data sets with the end goal of improving agricultural productivity and sustainability. Towards that end, GEMS provides a wide range of services including: the GEMS Platform (described below); GEMS Exchange,  a collection of geo-spatially gridded datasets of core importance to the agri-food sector readily imported into R and Python workflows; GEMS Sensing, a framework of plug-and-play sensor arrays with consistent backend QA/QC for deployment in research fields; GEMS Learning, a collection of agri-food relevant courses to up-skill professionals for data science; and GEMS Solutions, a custom service for solving real-world problems in the agri-food domain.

How we worked with the researchers
MSI used its HPC and bioinformatics expertise to work with agricultural experts at CFANS to drive the development of a next-generation agroinformatics data discovery and analysis platform called GEMS. The GEMS platform has two core features, co-developed by MSI programmers. GEMShare includes: appropriate levels of security; access control, so proprietary data is protected; different access levels - single organization, set of organizations, and public/open data; discoverability of data through metadata alone; secure data transfer. GEMSTools includes: access to best-in-class hardware and software libraries; accommodation of different programming languages; a range of analysis styles (novice to sophisticated).


The GEMS platform is accessible on MSI systems. The GEMSOpen environment offers basic access to search and download public datasets. Paid subscribers to the service can share data products and analyze data through a variety of interfaces. MSI staff maintain the hardware and the continuous integration tools for the continued improvement of the platform by the GEMS software developers. MSI staff provide user support and manage the infrastructure for this ongoing collaboration.