In ICT4S and in the field of computing in general, we generally assume that a transition to a sustainable society can be supported by various mitigation strategies; of using ICT to decrease energy use, make transportation more efficient and utilize ICT to decrease carbon emissions and environmental impacts (GeSI 2012). Some computer researchers have however started to explore alternative scenarios. What if mitigation doesn’t work out and we instead have to think about adaptation (Tomlinson et al. 2012)? What if we will come up against various ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits (c.f. “Limits to Growth”, Meadows et. al., 1973) that will also profoundly affect the field of computing in the coming decades? These questions have lately started to be explored under the terms “collapse informatics” (Tomlinson et al. 2013) and the more recent term “Computing within Limits” (Nardi 2015). A international workshop on Computing within Limits was organised in 2015 at University of California Irvine (Pargman and Raghavan 2015).
This workshop introduces Computing within Limits to an ICT4S audience and invites workshop participants to collaboratively explore scenarios that go beyond usually assumed predictions (Moore’s law etc.) within the field of computing. There are many disruptive factors that could come into play within the next decade such as severe mandated cutbacks in CO2 emissions, chaotic effects of climate change, a rewired energy system, or, various economic woes (new economic crises, deglobalisation, high unemployment etc).
We will develop a limited number (2-4) of scenarios at the workshop and work through various implications of these scenarios; what research is or will be needed, what ICT will people use and what would be needed, what are the implications for industry? How does this all differ from what we focus on today? The goal of the workshop is to develop an agenda by proposing various research questions that would be relevant to explore if we take various biophysical limits and Computing with Limits seriously.
The anticipated outcome of the workshop is threefold. Firstly, the aim of the workshop is to gather researchers and industry representatives from Europe who are interested in exploring computing within limits within their research/practice, and to introduce this research area to those previously unaware of it. Secondly, the aim of the workshop is to work with formulating alternative scenarios based on factors (e.g. limits) that often are omitted or ignored in mainstream research. These scenarios would focus on how the ICT we work with or conduct research on today would be different from a perspective of taking non-negotiable limits into account. Thirdly, an outcome of the workshop would be to identify new areas for research, and more precise research questions to be explored for both the computing within limits community as well as for ICT4S in general.
The workshop is open to all conference participants who are interested in the concept of computing within limits, irrespective of if they have done any research/work within that area this far. Attendees’ backgrounds could furthermore be from any ICT or computing discipline and we encourage a mix of participants that span both academia and industry. Maximum number of workshop participants is 20 and the minimum is 5. While the workshop is open to all conference participants, a short applications to attend the workshop is required in advance due to the fact that materials will be disseminated before the workshop, as well as to be able to gauge the number of applicants and plan the workshop activities accordingly. It is also desirable to get a good mix between participants from industry and academia.
Prospective participants should apply to the workshop by handing in a 1 page long letter of interest which should outline the background and the reasons for why he/she would like to attend the workshop. If there are many prospective applicants, the workshop organizers will strive to put together a diverse set of participants from the research community as well as from industry. Preference will be given to applicants who are, or would be highly interested in doing research/work on the topic of the workshop. Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for letter of interest: August 7th, 2016
Notification of acceptance: August 12th, 2016
Workshop: Monday August 29th, 2016
GeSI (2012) GeSI SMARTer 2020: The Role of ICT in Driving a Sustainable Future.
Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J., and Behrens, W.W. The limits to growth. New York, 1972.
Nardi, B. Priorities for ICT4S: What we can do for a future of descent. Keynote at the EnviroInfo and ICT4S 2015 conference, Copenhagen (2015)
Pargman, D. and Raghavan, B. Introduction to LIMITS ’15: First workshop on computing within limits. First Monday, 20, 8 (2015).
Tomlinson, B., Patterson, D.J., Pan, Y., Blevis, E., Nardi, B., Silberman, S., Norton, J., and LaViola Jr, J.J. What if sustainability doesn’t work out? interactions, 19, 6 (2012), 50-55.
Tomlinson, B., Blevis, E., Nardi, B., Patterson, D.J., Silberman, M., and Pan, Y. Collapse informatics and practice: Theory, method, and design. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 20, 4 (2013).