Date: June 29, 2012

Computing Advances Vital to Sustainability Efforts; New Report Recommends Problem-Focused, Iterative Approach to Research

WASHINGTON — Innovation in computing will be essential to finding real-world solutions to sustainability challenges in such areas as electricity production and delivery, global food production, and climate change. The immense scale, numerous interconnected effects of actions over time, and diverse scope of these challenges require the ability to collect, structure, and analyze vast amounts of data. A new report from the National Research Council says that advances in computing -- such as ones that allow us to make trade-offs, understand complex systems and their connections, and account for uncertainty -- will be critical to meeting sustainability challenges.

"These problems are as complex as they are important; we need to engage deeply across disciplines to have any hope of meeting global sustainability challenges," said Deborah Estrin, professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "The urgency of these problems means that we must begin to deploy our 'best-of-breed' approaches immediately to put our critical societal infrastructures on a digital plane. This will give us a chance to start creating opportunities for transformative efficiency gains, deep scientific understanding, and informed evolution of the associated political and economic systems."

Full story - http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13415

 

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