Sustainability through Computation

Azam Khan, Kasper Hornbaek

Computation for Humanity – Information Technology to Advance Society
2012

Abstract

This chapter describes how computation can support individuals, groups, and societies in living sustainably. By sustainability, we refer primarily to the Earth’s capacity to support human, animal and plant life while sustaining our planet’s existing climate and biodiversity. We argue that measuring a system’s sustainability by characterizing status quo, quantifying the effects of an intervention, and comparing decision alternatives will lead to greater overall sustainability. The chapter first discusses why it is difficult to obtain measures about sustainability. On the one hand, sustainability is a complex issue, drawing on multiple disciplines. On the other hand, sustainability may be described at varying levels of scale, each with a very large number of variables, assumptions, and interactions. Next we turn to computation and discuss its use in analyzing sensed data and simulating sustainability. We describe strategies for computing sustainability and for handling multiple models, simulations, and parameters. Finally, we present several visions for using computing and simulation to improve sustainability. Pursuing these visions will help us effectively deal with our exponential population growth and also, we argue, help improve sustainability.

LINK

Related Publications

Loading...

Related Projects

  • Systems Design & Simulation

    While traditional programming practices have produced a wide range of relatively independent simulation methods, predictive models of extremely complex natural and artificial systems will require a more scalable, more collaborative approach to modeling. This project strives for software that will help researchers develop, debug, document, share, and integrate simulation code.

  • Building Simulation

    Buildings are the largest consumers of energy responsible for 48% of all Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Due to the complexity and multidisciplinary aspects of architectural design, construction, urban design, and building occupant behavior, simulation has gained attention as a means of addressing this enormous challenge. The idea is to model a building’s many interacting subsystems, including its occupants, electrical equipment, and indoor and outdoor climate. With simulation results in hand, an architect is better able to predict the energy demand associated with various designs, and choose from among the more sustainable options.

Welcome ${RESELLERNAME} Customers

Please opt-in to receive reseller support

I agree that Autodesk may share my name and email address with ${RESELLERNAME} so that ${RESELLERNAME} may provide installation support and send me marketing communications.  I understand that the Reseller will be the party responsible for how this data will be used and managed.

Email is required Entered email is invalid.

${RESELLERNAME}