Homeworks - Md Anowarul Abedin

In this wiki page, the homeworks of the course - Green IT and Sustainable Computing are done. At the beginning, there is a general overview of the course. After the overview, all the personal homeworks are listed.

Overview on this Course

There were three seminars on this course. The seminars were held on two books: “Computing Research for Sustainability” by National Academy of Sciences, USA and “Roadmap to Greener Computing” by Nguemaleu and Montheu. Discussion on the seminars are given below:

Discussion Summary on Seminar 1
  • The term 'sustainability' is not defined clearly. As a result, the metrics to understand or measure sustainability are yet to find out
  • Limiting consumption level of consumers does not ensure sustainability
  • The model of any kind of development should form around the concept of sustainability
  • In the current age, sustainability is not achievable without IT. So it is wiser to think sustainability with IT
  • Using data once and storing them online is a waste, it is important to reuse online data
  • Smart technologies will help achieve sustainability
  • Time is always flowing, so if we can make people engaged in something, they will not get the time to waste resources
Discussion Summary on Seminar 2
  • Green coding technique should be introduced in programming courses
  • Research on sustainability modeling with the help of computational resources can lead to greater success in achieving sustainability
  • Defining the global demand of different resources is very important
  • “Do not design the product, design the life-cycle” - this is a good step towards sustainability
  • Eco-design adds more cost to a product. It is yet to find a sustainable process to minimize the cost
  • “Do not plan business with the product, plan with the service” - another policy that can help achieve sustainability
Discussion on Summary Seminar 3
  • Eco-friendly life-cycle of the products can form a big and sustainable eco-industry
  • Extending life-time of a product is not always sustainable
  • Comfort depends on perspective of a person, it can not be predetermined
  • Component reuse can be more effective than material reuse in a sustainable model
  • Recycling model should differ for mechanical devices and electronic devices
  • Pollution tax could be a good practice towards sustainable business practices
  • Bring-back policy can be helpful to build a sustainable recycle policy
  • It is to measure how much sustainable cloud computing is

Definition of Green IT

Green IT refers to the study and practice of using computers and IT resources in a more efficient and environmentally responsible way [McCabe, 2009]. The objective of green IT is to minimize the negative impact of IT operations on the environment by designing, manufacturing, operating and disposing computers and computer-related products in an environment-friendly way. The motives behind green IT practices include reducing CO2 footprint, limiting the use of hazardous materials, maximizing energy efficiency during the product's lifetime and promoting the biodegradability of unused and outdated products.

The process of green IT starts with manufacturers producing environmentally friendly products, continues with IT departments using more energy efficient technologies and ends with proper recycling habits. This detailed view is defined by San Murugesan who notes that green IT includes “designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems — efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment” [Murugesan, 2008]. This definition also outlines the scopes of green IT and the computing resources that are involved in it.

The study and practice of green IT is getting more and more important every day as IT is responsible for 2%-4% of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, growing with penetration rate and individual usage explosion. Moreover, the reserve of rare materials - such as gold, silver, copper and antimony - are depleting with the increased consumption, whereas, IT alone uses more than 25% of these rare natural resources and with an increased rate every day [Guibard, 2013]. Along with these numbers, there is an amount of 73M tons which is the estimated e-waste to be produced by IT in 2015. Statistics are not for speculation, they are true. And all these statistics illustrate the significance of green IT at present.

  1. Laurie McCabe, 2009. What Is Green IT, and Why Should You Care?. Small Business Computing.com [online] (Posted on: 30 December 2009). Available at: <http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/testdrive/article.php/3855806/What-Is-Green-IT-and-Why-Should-You-Care.htm> [Accessed on: 20 March 2015].
  2. San Murugesan, 2008. Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices. IEEE IT Professional, January–February 2008, pp 24-33. Available at: <http://www.google.com.bd/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pitt.edu%2F~dtipper%2F2011%2FGreenPaper.pdf&ei=MRIjVffAKpbnarSJgOAC&usg=AFQjCNGhVvJhFnSAgdT_QulgW5wwm00S2w&bvm=bv.89947451,d.bGg> [Accessed on: 20 March 2015]
  3. William McDonough and Michael Braungart, 2009. Cradle to cradle: Remaking the way we make things. London: Vintage. <http://www.amazon.com/Cradle-Remaking-Way-Make-Things/dp/1400157617>
  4. Denis Guibard, 2013. From the Green Line to the Bottom Line: Orange for Environment. Seminar for PERCCOM by France Telecom Group, University of Lorraine [Delivered on: 23 September 2013].

How to Increase Sustainability Aspects in LUT CS/SWE

Sustainability aspects could be increased in LUT CS/SWE program in different levels of studies:

Mandatory Courses on Sustainability and Green IT

Courses on sustainability and impacts of green IT in sustainability could be offered as mandatory courses. It can be an undergraduate course in semester-2 or 3. By offering such courses, every student will learn the basics about sustainability and will be more aware about the global problems on environment. Students could be assigned to prepare reports and projects on different green IT and sustainability aspects.

Research on Data Reusing Techniques

Introducing research works related to data reusing techniques is a good way to increase sustainability aspect in CS/SWE program. Using a data once, and storing it for many years is a wastage of processes and resources. More wasteful is the replication of same data in several places due to temporal use. That is why data reusing is so important and it could be proved as a good philosophy for sustainable computing.

Research on Modeling Sustainability

CS/SWE program can have research works in collaboration with other programs - such as business, mathematics, industrial management, humanities etc. - in order to model sustainability. As sustainability is a complex term and is not defined only on few parameters, it is difficult to predict the outcome of a change happening in the world. As a result, a new technology, a new philosophy or a new innovation often misleads us by creating problems as by product, rather than bringing an overall sustainable change. These problems could be overcome by predicting the effects of a change using the computational resources through probabilistic modeling. Research works on this type of projects will involve a lot of resources, but they could create great impact if successful.

Green Idea Generation Competition

Idea generation competition based on sustainability and green IT could be offered per semester or per year as part of the CS/SWE program. It could be even open to all. Students will develop ideas on green IT and build different smart systems to achieve sustainability in other sectors. These kinds of competition always bring some novel ideas to solve some of the contemporary problems in a very effective way.

Green Coding Course and Contest

Different green and resource-efficient coding techniques could be introduced in the programming courses so that students automatically learn and practice green coding in their practical life. Also, a green code contest could be arranged as part of the course in order to encourage coders to code in the most resource-efficient way.

Course on Software Eco-design

An advanced course on software eco-design could be offered to the students completing SWE course. This course will include green software engineering techniques, green design patterns, environment friendly software development models, green database implementations, green web services, efficient software deployment techniques, green service level agreements and environment friendly QoSs. Overall, this course will be the study of end to end 'green' life-cycle of a software.

Critical Thinking and Argumentation (For Coursera Diploma)

Web Based Materials

There are a number of web based materials which could be very useful for this course:

  1. Free course on “Critical Reasoning for Beginners” by the University of Oxford: Online video and audio lectures on this course are available at: <http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/critical-reasoning-beginners>
  2. The Critical Thinking Community: Online community for critical thinkers and learners; study materials are available at: <http://www.criticalthinking.org>
  3. “Critical Thinking”, 2nd edition, McGraw Hill, 2004 by Greg Bassham, William Irwin, Carl, Henry Nardone and James M. Wallace: An accompanying website with an internet based study guide is available at <http://highered.mheducation.com/sites/0072879599/student_view0/chapter2/web_links.html>

Critical Thinking is logically supporting some causes or establishing some reasons. Argumentation is giving reasons and evidences to support a conclusion. So the term “Critical thinking and argumentation” refers to the process of supporting a conclusion through logical establishment of reasons.

In this course, critical thinking and argumentation could be implemented by defining a set of rules in every kind of discussion. The rules could be set in different ways. Anyone participating in any oral or written discussion, must follow these rules:

  1. He/she must specify first what conclusion he/she is supporting
  2. He/she should give the reasons behind his/her support
  3. He/she should logically explain his/her reasons with evidences

Following these rules will direct the participants to think and argument critically. At the same time, it will be easy to follow the overall discussion in a structured way.

Exam Questions

1) Can sustainability be achieved by restricting the consumption level of people? Justify your answer.

Sustainability is not defined clearly and the metrics of sustainability are also not clear. It is often thought that a sustainable approach could be found by limiting the consumption or restricting the consumption of a resource within some quota. It is a common trend now a days to criticise people who stays in luxury and use any resource in abundance. This kind of criticism is part of a thinking philosophy that believes consumption should be limited and resources should not be wasted. However, the definitions of 'waste' and 'limit' are very vague, and they vary in different situations and cultures. As an example, the waste in a third world country might be a basic need in the developed countries.

Because of the contrasting sides mentioned above, this question is a good question to bring the critical thinking and argumentation skill out of the students. At the same time, this question makes students think about the metrics and definition of sustainability. There was a discussion about this on Seminar-1 and the first book - “Computing Research for Sustainability” also focuses on different aspects of sustainability in order to define it. So students will be able to answer with logic and facts to justify their answers.

2) Why is it necessary to blend sustainability and education at present?

This question outlines the core concept of the first book - “Computing Research for Sustainability” which focuses on computer science research to achieve sustainability. However, the question asks the students to think broader than the book's scope. The book focuses more on one side of academic education - computer science research, but at the same time, it discusses on the relation of sustainability and education in general. It might be more important to approach sustainability blending education of all stages with it, and this question gives the students the platform to share their thoughts.

3) Is designing a service is more sustainable than designing a product? Analyze your answer.

This topic was discussed in Seminar-2 and also raised in Seminar-3. The second book - “Roadmap to Greener Computing” also has a good discussion on the fact that service based business approach is more sustainable in IT. Moreover, there are a number of existing business models which are based on IT services rather than the products. However, this book considers computer science or IT related service models only. Thus, it is yet to check if service based approach could be applied to every type of business model.

This question asks students to give their opinion in this interesting topic and support their position with argumentation.

4) How does cloud lead to greener computing?

This question is based on one of the core concepts of the second book - “Roadmap to Greener Computing”. There was a discussion on this in Seminar-3 too. The book analyzes cloud and its impacts on greener computing in great detail. As cloud is the future where computing world is heading to, it will be good to utilize the strength of cloud to achieve sustainability. This question will verify students' knowledge and concept on the relation of cloud and greener computing.

Answer to the Course Questionnaire