Donald J. Patterson

Computing within Limits

Computing within Limits screenshot

“Computing within Limits” published in the Communications of the ACM

A great group of colleagues, Bonnie Nardi, Bill Tomlinson, Jay Chen, Daniel Pargman, Barath Raghavan, Birgit Penzenstadler and I just received word that an article titled “Computing within Limits” has been published in the Communications of the ACM. This article summarizes the state of the art within a larger group of scholars who are concerned about the role of computing in causing and solving sustainability challenges.

Most computing research relies on the implicit assumption that the future of industrial civilizations will include continuing economic growth. However, scientists across many fields are projecting that our species is approaching an array of planet-scale limits relating to climate change, raw materials, and numerous other factors that we must consider as we move forward. This article explores the implications of these limits, and reviews literature in a growing research community within computing concerned with planetary limits. Through this work, we seek to align the future of computing research and practice with findings on global trends documented by scientists in many other fields.

The UCI press office released a nice summary of the article as well.

As the paper articulates, the LIMITS community aims to reframe computing research to question growth, consider models of scarcity, and reduce energy and material consumption. In particular, community members “question the focus on ongoing economic growth that lies at the heart of industrial civilization and propose a shift from emphasis on standards of living and material productivity to an emphasis on long-term well-being.”

(archival copylocal copy)

C.V.: JR-14

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