Oliver Baldwin Edwards has been a Software Engineer on the Software Development team at SIG since graduating college in 2021. Oliver has always been passionate about protecting the environment and combating climate change. While growing up near Lake Michigan, he witnessed first-hand how climate change impacted the lake’s rapidly rising levels and knew he wanted to make a positive difference. When attending Amherst College, Oliver enrolled in a seminar on Evolutionary Computation (a sub-field of AI inspired by biological evolution) and created a cellular automaton-based wildfire simulator for evolving rules that describe fire spread. When a recruiter found his project on GitHub and asked him to apply for the Software Engineering position to help develop PyreCast, Oliver joined SIG and the Pyregence Consortium.

Photograph by Oliver of an abandoned mine cart in a Colorado stream

Though Oliver works on a variety of different development projects, he still spends most of his time developing PyreCast: Pyregence’s near-term fire forecasting tool which provides real-time forecasts for active fires, fire consequences, fire weather, and more. Oliver is the lead software engineer on PyreCast and has been helping develop this tool since he first started working at SIG. While working on PyreCast, Oliver helped to architect and implement a series of fire modeling microservices which has allowed the team to deploy Match Drop: a tool that enables a user to pick a point anywhere in the Continental United States at any date or time going back to early 2011 and simulate a 72-hour fire. He has also led the development of adding functionality to monitor Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events for utility companies and their assets.

Oliver climbing in Chatanooga, Tennessee

Outside of work, Oliver loves bouldering, a form of free climbing that’s done on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses. He first started climbing about five years ago when he joined the rock climbing team in college. He instantly fell in love with the sport because of the problem-solving skills involved, the way it forces him to face his fears head-on, and the fun exercise that’s always better with friends. Additionally, being outdoors while climbing offers many opportunities to take pictures, and Oliver has loved photography since he borrowed his dad’s digital camera during a trip to Door County, Wisconsin when he was a pre-teen. In addition to getting the opportunity to capture memories, Oliver feels that photography has taught him to stand back and be more observant. During his senior year of college, he spent a remote semester in Colorado where he worked on a project that focused on examining/documenting the lasting damage done to the Colorado landscape during the Colorado Silver Boom at the end of the 19th century. Oliver’s problem-solving and observation skills, in combination with his commitment to combating climate change, make him an invaluable asset to the SIG team.

A photo Oliver captured in Gilman, Colorado, a mining town that was founded in 1886 during the Colorado Silver Boom and abandoned over 72 hours in 1984. It was designated as an EPA Superfund site in 1986.

Gilman’s abandoned lead/zinc mine.

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