By David Stefan, Mark Barrett, Emmanuel Letier (University College London) and Mark Stella-Sawicki (Logica)

Abstract– Large organizations play an important role in helping to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change. As a result, they face increasing pressure from Governments and non-governmental organizations to report on the sustainability of their operations. Beyond simple reporting, however, it is difficult for them to identify the most effective actions to take to address the risks associated with climate change and rising energy costs. The problem is hard because it involves tradeoffs between multiple long- term and short-term objectives that must be made under strong budgetary constraints, uncertainties about the future evolution of many system variables, and sometimes simply a lack of shared understanding of what the real objectives are and the potential impacts of various decisions on such objectives. The overall aim of our research is to develop fundamental techniques to help organizations make deci- sions in this context. As a first step, we are currently applying quantitative goal-oriented requirements engineer- ing technique to model and reason about the sustainability goals of UCL, a large university in central London. The paper also discusses important software systems engineering research challenges in this domain. These are related to the elaboration and evolution of large-scale models, the ability to reason about the timing of system transformations and the delayed impacts of these transformations on goals, and the need to include in the system model funding mechanisms and system governance structures as explicit components that are themselves subject to changes.

Link to full paper

By Bran Richards (Lancaster University)

Abstract: Technologies do not function in society merely to enable human activity. Our interactions with technology influence our understanding of our world and our role in it. I suggest, therefore, that the most overlooked, and perhaps most radical, avenue to sustainability is using the transformative power of technology to our advantage, and developing strategically with an eye toward affecting a more sustainable worldview. Given the popularity and extensiveness of the Internet, I propose that it may be a suitable target for shorter-term wins toward engendering healthier orientations to technology and the planet.

Link to full paper

By Cheryl Porter (University of Florida), Sander Janssen (Wageningen University), and Ioannis N. Athanasiadis (Democritus University of Thrace)

The Agricultural Model Intercomparison Project (AgMIP) is a distributed climate- scenario simulation exercise for historical model intercomparison and future climate change conditions with participation of multiple crop and world agricultural trade mod- eling groups around the world. The goals of AgMIP are to improve substantially the characterization of risk of hunger and world food security due to climate change and to enhance adaptation capacity in both developing and developed countries.

Link to full paper

By Elena Pérez-Miñana (Philips Research Labs)

Excerpt: In recent years there has been a fair amount of software tool development supporting a business’ environmental management system (EMS). A good summary on the most recent ones available has been published during 2011 in different issues of the Environmentalist [12,14]. It includes a plethora of tools that provide different levels of functionality, ranging from basic data management through macros embedded in an MS Excel environment (Cool farm from Unilever [4]); to a fully blown EMS software enabling an organisation to record/reduce and manage its basic resources; i.e. energy, waste, water and CO2 with the aim of minimising its environmental impact (Hara [8]).

Link to full paper

By Stephen Lord (Lancaster University)

Overview: What exactly is “data relating to Climate Change?” Naively this is smart meter data relating to electricity use and perhaps an other energy source in the home. However, this only addresses a significant but not complete portion of an individ- ual’s impact. By exposing data from many other sources, in a style now known as open data one can include industrial systems, government and personal data col- lection. This could give a better indication of an individuals complete impact and how this fits in with their community. But where and how is this data aggregated? How is it then best displayed?

Link to full paper

By Robina Hetherington, Robin Laney and Stephen Peake (The Open University)

Abstract: The need to reduce the energy used by buildings and the resultant carbon emissions is changing how they are designed, look and work. This position paper outlines the urgent need for new software that integrates thermal simulation with building information modelling. A vision for the software is presented.

Link to full paper

By: Ruzanna Chitchyan, Ian Marshall (Lancaster University), Scott Godfrey (Noveda Technologies Ltd) and D.C. Howard (Lancaster Environment Centre)

Abstract—At present businesses and individuals are not fully informed and don’t understand about the carbon effects of their daily activities. In particular, there is no fully reliable methodology of carbon emission calculation. In addition, there are no clear guidelines on the allocation of responsibility for different types of emissions. In this paper we propose new research to tackle these two issues.

Link to full paper

It’s been a little quiet around here since the last workshop ended – time to get the wheels rolling for the next one! It will be held at the 25th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP), in Lancaster, UK, on July 25, 2011. More details on the main website for the workshop; we’ll use this blog for reviewing the position papers, and discussing ideas.

By Vahid Garousi, Ehsan Abbasi and Roshanak Ferhoodi (University of Calgary), Richard Bauer, Allan Shea (Pembina Pipelines Corp), Canada

(click the image to see the video)

I posted a draft program to the workshop website a while back – it’s now time to put a little more flesh on that.

Session 1: We’ll open in the first morning session with a keynote from Stephen Emmott of Microsoft Research. Unfortunately, as a knock-on effect of the volcanic dust, Stephen can no longer be there in person, but he’ll be giving his keynote remotely. Ironically, this gives us an opportunity to test out some of Ian’s thoughts about cutting down business travel.

Session 2: After the coffee break, everyone will get a chance to introduce themselves and their work briefly (a few minutes each). We’ll then hear longer presentations from three attendees (15 minutes each):

  1. Rami Bahsoon – talking about the work on green clouds and optimization power requirements;
  2. Rogardt Heldal – talking about the experiences in bringing together climatologists and software engineers to make a computational model more widely useable;
  3. Herna Viktor – talking about the challenges in creating a repository of climate change research findings;

Then, we’ll decide on topics for the afternoon brainstorming session. We can pick several topics and have breakout groups, or stick with one topic and discuss en mass. There are several topics that came out of the papers and reviewing that I’ll throw in to the mix as a starting point; I’m sure more possible topics will come up at the workshop itself. So far, I think we have:

  • What technology would we need to dramatically reduce long-distance travel over the next decade? (inspired by Ian Sommerville’s paper);
  • What kind of research should we be doing: big visionary long-term stuff, or more immediate incremental practical stuff – e.g. how would we allocate our effect / research dollars? (inspired by Jon Pipitone et al’s paper, but also by comments on many papers about whether different research proposals would or wouldn’t actually make a difference);
  • The role of architecture in energy management / energy efficiency (inspired by Hasan Sozer et al’s paper, and subsequent discussions);
  • How much scope is there to make software engineering itself greener? (inspired by Matthias Galster’s paper on life-cycle assessments for SE, and Jonas Helming et al’s paper on requirements modeling for environmental concerns);
  • How do we make climate change knowledge more accessible and encourage a wider participation in climate related decision-making? (inspired by several papers, including Justyna Zander’s paper on Computation of Things, Lin Liu and colleagues on carbon footprint calculators and climate knowledge);
  • What are the software problems in building a smart energy grid and managing power demand? (inspired by lots of the submitted papers!)

The afternoon sessions will be mainly discussion/brainstorming sessions, using the agenda set in the morning. We’d also like to bring in remote participants for the final session, and will test out the audio conferencing technology on the weekend to check feasibility.

As always, comments welcome…