Our planet is suffering global crises of poverty and inequity, overdevelopment, environmental degradation, climate change, healthcare, educational disparities and aging demographics. Given these crises of sustainability, does computer science have anything to offer? Computation can be seen as inherently sustainable: replacing atoms by bits. And there are many initiatives in green computing that certainly are significant. However, beyond those, an interdisciplinary field of computational sustainability is emerging. It aims to develop computational models and methods for decision making concerning the management and allocation of resources to help solve problems of sustainability. Moreover, it is also focused on the design of computational systems that support sustainability directly.
Sustainable systems must satisfy physical, chemical, biological, psychological, economic, and social constraints. Consider constraints such as those imposed by energy supply, water resources, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean acidity, climate, ecological footprint, biodiversity, habitat, harvesting and global equity. A sustainable system is one that operates within an envelope defined by the constraints it should satisfy. Sustainability is constraint satisfaction.
In this talk, I shall sketch the constraint-based computational sustainability framework, outline the dimensions of the design space for computational sustainability systems, describe the design of several systems and speculate on the scope of future developments.
Alan Mackworth is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. He was educated at Toronto (B.A.Sc.), Harvard (A.M.) and Sussex (D.Phil.). He works on constraint-based artificial intelligence with applications in vision, robotics, situated agents, assistive technology and sustainability. He is known as a pioneer in the areas of constraint satisfaction, robot soccer, hybrid systems and constraint-based agents. He has authored over 120 research papers and co-authored two books: Computational Intelligence: A Logical Approach (1998) and Artificial Intelligence: Foundations of Computational Agents (2010).
He was President and Trustee of International Joint Conferences on AI (IJCAI) Inc.; he is on the IJCAI Executive Committee. He has served on many editorial boards and program committees. He was VP and President of the Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence (CSCSI). He served as President of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). He has received the ITAC/NSERC Award for Academic Excellence, the Killam Research Prize, the Artificial Intelligence Journal Classic Paper Award, the CSCSI Distinguished Service Award, the AAAI Distinguished Service Award, the Association for Constraint Programming Award for Research Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian AI Association (CAIAC). He served as the founding Director of the UBC Laboratory for Computational Intelligence. He is a Fellow of AAAI, CAIAC, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Royal Society of Canada.
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