I wrote an article about the need for low-carbon and and the path towards zero-carbon computing.


** The problem:
* By 2040 emissions from computing alone will be close to half the emissions level acceptable to keep global warming below 2°C. This growth in computing emissions is unsustainable: it would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions warming limit.
* The emissions from production of computing devices far exceed the emissions from operating them, so even if devices are more energy efficient producing more of them will make the emissions problem worse. Therefore we must extend the useful life of our computing devices.
** The solution:
As a society we need to start treating computational resources as finite and precious, to be utilised only when necessary, and as effectively as possible. We need frugal computing: achieving the same results for less energy.
** The vision: please read the article, I'm out of characters.


@wim_v12e Are you planning on publishing an academic paper on this topic or have a link to a pre-print? I appreciate you.


@theruran I think that I can't compete with the existing published papers at the moment. For example this one [1] has a very similar message, so I don't think I'd have much to add.

But I am now officially leading the "Low Carbon and Sustainable Computing" activity in my department, so eventually I expect to publish on this topic.

[1] cell.com/patterns/fulltext/S26

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@theruran I want to focus more on outreach though, giving talks about the article I wrote. So I you know of a virtual venue, let me know ^_^

@theruran My main Low Carbon activity at the moment is as a participant in a project to propose recommendations to achieve a net zero digital research infrastructure for the UK by 2040 or sooner. I will be one of the co-authors of that report.


I don't like the concept of "net zero" but in this project, what it means is that after we have applied all possible ways to reduce emissions from this infrastructure, there will still be some emissions, e.g. from manufacturing. So to achieve actual zero, offsetting will be needed.

I am very critical of offsetting and even more of carbon capture/sequestration and storage though. I think if we do all the rest, we might not need the offsetting part anyway.

The idea is that our recommendations will be applicable to industry and organisations as well, because of course the UK digital research infrastructure is a small contributor even to the UK's emissions. The purpose is to serve as an example of what can be done.

@wim_v12e thanks for the reference, it's very comprehensive! and good luck in your new role 😊

The idea is yet another example of "first world problem" expediency:

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