Latest Event Updates
This will be a fully loaded blog post. Yours truly, and several team members and team hang arounds, have just attended the triple event of Computing within Limits workshop (LIMITS 2018), ICT4S 2018 conference and adjoining workshop on Computing + Sustainability + Education. The events stretched from Sunday the 13th of May to Friday the 18th of May 2018, followed by a Hackathon that we unfortunately did not attend.
Putting LIMITS and ICT4S back to back made sure that both events received attendees that probably would not have attended (both) and that for at least some of us, travel was reduced. Personally I really appreciated this and hope for more synergies in the future.
Besides the pleasure of networking with colleagues of the same persuasion, the list of key note speakers and papers presented were wildly interesting. At LIMITS Peter Victor kicked the workshop off with a keynote on Ecological Economics and a Steady State Economy. This was followed by interesting papers and discussions, with the program allowing break out sessions and mingling. The second day started with Alan Borning presenting SEED – Solutions for Environment, Economy and Democracy.
The ICT4S conference was yet again facilitated by Peter Woodward who made us laugh, cringe and to the fullest connect and communicate with each other. Also this conference had brilliant keynote speakers, William Rees (the father of the ecological footprint), Lisa Nathan (whose talk on privilege made an impact on many) and John Robinson (who talked about how to interact with buildings). Personally, I was touched most by Sanjay Khanna, a futurologist who seemed to be well connected to his own feelings, letting it show how deeply emotionally affected he was in light of the future we are facing.
Finally, despite being relatively unplanned, the workshop om Computing + Sustainability + Education became a great success with interesting exchanges on how we teach sustainability within computing (HCI, Software Engineering, Computer Science etc). Steve Easterbrook also led us through an exercise on Systems Thinking. We have already drawn up plans on how to continue the energy from this group at the next ICT4S conference – in the form of another workshop and a tutorial. More to follow.
And happy news for us! Next ICT4S conference will be held in Lappeenranta in June 2019. See you all there!
[here is a placeholder for the link to Daniel’s blog post that will probably come]
Imagine a dungeon, well, not a real dungeon, but a gaming basement, the Dragon’s lair, filled with odd chairs and tables. Imagine among the groups of hardened board gamers, card gamers, and role playing members a small contingent of researchers. In front of them, a mint version of the Peak Oil game, a kickstarter artefact, hand delivered in Spain to our team member Daniel. Now imagine the feeling of competition, strategy and intensive concentration, as the researchers try to gain the largest share of new energy technologies before the inevitable peak oil hits. All while trying to avoid PR disasters and losing barrels of oil. This all took place, a Tuesday in April, and all left with their nerd levels restored.
The game was engaging and fun, but difficult to master immediately. Even though we left out some game mechanics it still took some time to get started. The game itself took almost 1,5 hours, but never felt boring. It was highly enjoyable and I would love to play it again (and to get revenge)!
Thanks to Hanna, Philipp, and Nicolas for joining and Daniel for bringing the game. Congrats to Nicolas who won!
This Thursday the 7th of December, 2017, Green Leap (which includes team members and previous team members), launched the book Vitiden – an energy fiction. The event started with a short presentation of the book from several of the members of the project team, followed by a panel discussion with three invited guests; Pella Thiel (transition movement), Staffan Laestadius (professor emeritus from KTH) and Carlos Lopes (the Swedish Energy Agency).
There was some forty participants mingling the afternoon and early evening away, and lots of interesting discussions on energy, the energy system and a transition to a more sustainable society.
The book can be downloaded as a PDF from KTH DiVA.
Today our team member Hanna Hasselqvist had her 80% seminar, which for those unfamiliar with the concept, like a general repetition and milestone one year before the dissertation. Rob Comber was the opponent at the seminar, and he did an excellent work on giving feedback to Hanna. Congratulations Hanna!
attended a workshop at the KTH Water Center (or WaterCentre@KTH) earlier this week. The topic of the workshop was ”Can the Internet of Things make water systems more efficient and sustainable?”
The main starting point was that Stockholm Water know what they put into the pipes and they know what comes out (the charge for the water that we use) but there’s a lot they don’t know about everything in-between, including exactly where the 23% difference between input and output is ”lost”. Leaking pipes? Stolen? Substandard measurements? Something else?
Also, it seems that some losses are acceptable, say about 10% or so. Also, Stockholm Water haven’t really cared about losses since Sweden/Stockholm has had plenty of water and it’s inexpensive too. But if people use more water and Stockholm keeps growing, then there will be limits and building new infrastructure is expesive. So, how would new technologies (sensors, data, APIs, digitalization) help us understand and manage water better? Just the task of detecting and localizing a leak in an underground network is a non-trivial task today and we also raised the question of what exactly a ”leak” is – how big (in liters/second) has to be lost for something to be ”leak” that you would want to fix?
During the workshop, all participants emphasized something our Stockholm Water guest mentioned but that wasn’t really a big part of the invitation to the workshop, namely the fact that we don’t really know a lot about how water is used by households/consumers. Perhaps the (future, expected) pressure on the water system could be decreased by trying to push for ”better” habits concerning water. I found this interesting since I was one of less technically oriented persons but even the other workshop participants recurrently raised this point.
So from having thought that my role in future Water Center activities would be peripheral, it could equally well be argued that methods and ways of thinking from Human-Computer Interaction could be central, for example:
- Our tradition of working with the interface inbetween technology and ”users”, including our mixed computer science/social science backgrounds, interests and methods. I could for example see me and Elina representing ”user-centered design” perspectives. This goes for Cecilia too who could also bring ”practice theory” into the loop.
- Mine and Cecilia’s SPOC project emphasizes collecting ”actionable data” from another context (grocery stores) to increase sales of organic produce. The data part (collecting, visualizing existing data or figuring out what new (actionable) data sensors could generate and finding ways to leverage this data to the shop owner, to shop assistantants and to customers seem to be very relevant to Stockholm Water’s problems.
- When it comes to (big) data and quantified self, Björn’s skills would also seem to be very relevant.
To summarize, I think that several people in our MID4S group as well as other people I know at CESC/ABE school could contribute to Water Center projects.
I also thought the workshop was well organized by the Water Center Director David Nilsson and would gladly take part in another workshop organized by him/them. I would also be interested in participating in a more directed workshop that aimed at brainstorming ideas that would be geared towards a specific project/research grant application.
For the second year in a row, we organised an After Work to hustle companies and organisations to generate mater’s thesis topics/proposals in the area of sustainability and ICT/digitalisation. The basic idea is this:
- Our students do their master’s thesis during the spring (Jan – June). They are good at what they do.
- Companies/organisations have tasks that would be suitable and we want to find sustainability-oriented tasks/thesis topics for our students.
- Companies/organisations do now necessarily know what tasks are suitable for our students, how to formulate a proposal to make it attractive for our students nor know how to get in touch with our students.
- So we (teaches/researchers) organize an after work where we tell them about these things and encourage/help them formulate suitable and attractive thesis topics.
I personally think the basic idea is brilliant and think that the people who showed up think so too. What could be improved though is that only about 10 people showed up. I do think it was a very productive event though and hope it will result in not just master’s thesis proposals but also (9 months from now) in presentations of sustainability-oriented master’s theses.!
Also companies/organizations that did not attend the event are of course welcome to formulate master’s thesis proposals and to get in touch with us – and the time do that is right now as our students are starting to look for projects at this time of the year! The invitation to the after work event could be a good start.
While there could have been more people coming, we now have a program and a structure in place so it will be easy to organise an event like this next year again. An event like this is also great as part of our public outreach – telling other societal actors about what we do.
I should finally point out that the event was co-organised with the CESC research center and with the KTH School of Architecture and the Built Environment. Some companies want things done that will be more suitable for their master’s students – so it’s great to co-organise and co-host an event like this.
The 5th of October, a large contingent of team members were attending the conference ”Design för energieffektiv vardag” arranged by the Swedish Energy Agency, which is the final conference of the research program ”Energi, IT och Design”. The conference cover a summary of the projects that has been financed during the last 10 years, and a workshop on what kind of energy and design related research is needed for the future.
There were also an exhibition where the projects financed during the third and last period of the research program presented their results. There are several projects where current or previous team members have been part of. For example from Green Leap, the projects Sensing Energy, Hållbara Livsstilar, Energiframtider and Ett bilfritt år are exhibited.
Furthermore, Förbättrad energirådgivning och förbättrade energivanor genom Quantified Self Assisted Advisory were also present at the exhibition.
We are all hoping there will be a continuation in some form, some kind of research program with similar themes as the past has had, since practices and everyday life is still missing in the energy research and development. And we need more visions of a sustainable future.