ITCC participates in IEEE Young Professionals event “Navigating the Sustainable Computing and AI Landscape with IEEE Trailblazers”

ITCC participates in IEEE Young Professionals event “Navigating the Sustainable Computing and AI Landscape with IEEE Trailblazers” 2248 1276 ITCC

Organized by IEEE Young Professionals Climate and Sustainability Task Force (CSTF) on March 30, 2024, “Navigating the Sustainable Computing and AI Landscape with IEEE Trailblazers” brought high-level panelists from IEEE to discuss the pressing issue of sustainable computing and AI.

The panel was composed of IEEE President and CEO Thomas Coughlin, IEEE Past President Saifur Rahman, IEEE Computer Society President Jyotika Athavale, IEEE Region 4 Director Vickie Ozburn and ITCC team member Irene Kitsara, European Standardization Initiatives Director. Moderating the session for IEEE Young Professionals Climate Sustainability Task Force were Sukanya Meher, Member of technical staff at HYPRES, Naznin Akter, Module Development Engineer at INTEL Corporation and Polat Goktas, Marie Curie Research Fellow at CeADAR Ireland.

Thomas Coughlin talked about optimization and efficiency in computing, including strategies like minimizing data travel within server farms and computing systems, which were emphasized as crucial advancements in reducing the environmental impact of computing. Rethinking the operational dynamics of data centers, such as employing intermittent computing based on the availability of renewable energy sources like wind power, introduces a new paradigm for constructing and managing these facilities.

Saifur Rahman emphasized the importance of practical solutions in addressing energy consumption and environmental impact. He shared examples from the telecom industry, illustrating how innovative approaches such as using solar panels to power cell towers in remote areas and designing equipment to withstand higher temperatures have significantly reduced energy demands. Saifur encouraged young professionals to engage with policymakers and industry leaders, advocating for energy-efficient practices and questioning the environmental impact of large-scale computing projects.

Jyotika Athavale discussed the challenges of implementing green computing, highlighting issues such as cost and legacy systems. Finding creative solutions such as optimizing power performance and energy management are ways to go forward. Another suggestion is the need for standardization and regulatory influence. Jyotika also shared statistics indicating that many organizations lack comprehensive sustainability strategies, tools, and expertise. Collaboration between industry, academia, and government are ways to address these challenges and play a significant role in driving sustainable solutions forward.

Vickie Ozburn emphasized the importance of community engagement and local involvement in addressing climate issues. She highlighted the impact individuals can make by being informed and active in their communities, underscoring the significance of understanding local priorities and needs. Additionally, she mentioned the discussions following COP 23 regarding the creation of a declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change, suggesting it as a positive step towards considering the broader ethical implications of climate actions. This reflects the need for a comprehensive ethical framework in decision-making processes to understand the potential broader impacts of these decisions.

Irene Kitsara mentioned the issue of trade-offs and grey zones around comparability of data which have opened the road to greenwashing, some of the work in this area at ITCC includes working at the European level with the European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) on driving discussions around emissions reduction using the potential of digital solutions. Increasing pressure from the public with concerns around sustainability is also an element to take in account as more industries and organizations are aligning their green and digital transformation strategies.

Standards that promote value-based design, which consider circularity at the onset of product design, were discussed. IEEE has a role to play in the development of these standards as well as in others that were mentioned around data provenance and AI. The work of IEEE initiatives such as the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee to Coordinate IEEE’s Response to Climate Change (CCIRCC) and the IEEE Computer Society Special Technical Community on Sustainable Computing (STCSC) are initiatives fostering the use of technology as an enabler with regards to climate goals, while at the same time acknowledging their environmental impact.

Concluding the sessions the panelists highlighted the importance for Young Professionals to work on having an impact such as being involved locally in their community and at work, raising awareness also to non-technical experts. Key concepts and key messages for consumers, policy makers and other stakeholders are important to be developed to increase awareness around the importance of sustainable computing and AI.

More information on the work of Young Professionals Climate & Sustainability Task Force (CSTF).

Watch the event here: