NSF Workshop on Sustainable Computing for Sustainability

April 16, 2024 - April 17, 2024, Alexandria, VA

Computing for Sustainability

  1. Sustainable food supply: This theme encompasses a set of topics that broadly deal with the use of computing (and sensing) solutions to address the mounting challenges we face in securing our food supply. Representative examples include:
    • Precision agriculture. This includes micro weather modeling, crop selection and adaptation, land management, real-time sensing for efficient crop watering, fertilization and pest control, etc.
    • Intelligent food systems: This covers transportation optimization, local sourcing promotion, waste management and avoidance (through smart sensing and tracking), etc.
    Computing enablers: Sensing and IoT, AI/ML, edge/cloud computing solutions, networking, large-scale optimization
  2. Digital manufacturing and construction: This ranges from discovering new material to applying and using them in novel manners for improved sustainability. Representative examples include:
    • New material discovery through computational models, automated generation using generative AI/ML models
    • Manufacturing line automation and robotics
    • 3D printing including real-time defect detection and adaptation
    • Smart building and construction products, home automation
    Computing enablers: Sensing and IoT, robotics, AI/ML, 3D printing and control, human interactions
  3. Climate modeling: This encompasses both adaptation/prediction aspects as well as potential remediation approaches. Representative examples include:
    • Global/local and short-term/long-term weather predictions
    • Atmospheric simulations and models to better understand chemical composition as environmental factors change
    • Models for understanding the impact of climate control mechanisms, carbon capture, solar engineering, etc.
    • Social and economic impact of climate change and remediation/adaptation techniques
    Computing enablers: Distributed/cloud computing, AI/ML, sensing and IoT, social computing, visualization

Sustainable Computing

  1. Environmental impact of computing: This spans both aspects of usage and its orchestration, as well as design aspects that account for sustainability. Representative examples include:
    • Power efficient architectures and compute models
    • Datacenter energy optimization (to acknowledge the enormous role they play)
    • Usage patterns and electrical grid interactions and partnerships
    Computing enablers: Software engineering, computer architecture, AI/ML, computational economics, optimization
  2. Computing lifecycle: This explores approaches for ensuring sustainable hardware and software lifecycles to promote greater sustainability. Representative examples include:
    • Modular design to facilitate reuse and upgrade of computing systems
    • Software maintenance and upgrades processes to ensure longer lifespans
    • Economic and business incentives to address the tension between revenue maximization and extending shelf life of existing systems
    Computing enablers: Computer architecture, software engineering, computational economics, social computing, standardization