We are, for the second year in a row, organising the workshop Computing within Limits (LIMITS 2016) this summer at University of California Irvine (UCI). I spent my 6-month long sabbatical at UCI two years ago, visiting Bill Tomlinson, Bonnie Nardi, Don Patterson and Debra Richardson. Who also happen to be the organisers of the first (2015) workshop on Computing within Limits together with me, Barath Raghavan and Tessy Cerratto Pargman. Elina Eriksson and Jay Chen are the new, additional organisers of this year's workshop.
"LIMITS aims to foster discussion on the impact of present or future ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits on computing." [...]
"A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity."
LIMITS is hard-core sustainability. I have appended the call for papers below. It succinctly spells out what this all is about. The spiritual godmother of LIMITS is the paper on "Collapse Informatics" by Bill Tomlinson, Six Silberman, Don Patterson, Yue Pan and Eli Blevis that was presented at the CHI 2012 conference. That paper was also a strong reason for why me and my wife chose to go to UCI on our sabbatical during the the first half of 2014.
The term "collapse" in "collapse informatics" has a very specific meaning, but people (understandably) got hung up on it so we have chosen to go for "Computing with Limits" instead. It doesn't sounds at all threatening to the uninitiated, but, it signals an affinity with the classic book "Limits to Growth" (1972) for those in the known. That book was the first to point out various non-negotiable limitations to human industrial activities on planet Earth. The book constituted an early warning that we unfortunately have chosen not to heed in the 40+ years that have passed since it was published.
The deadline for submitting papers to LIMITS 2016 has unfortunately passed, but anyone interested in attending (June 9-10) is more than welcome to join us in Irvine (California)! If that is too far away, you might instead be interested in attending our workshop on "Computing within Limits: Visions of Computing beyond Moore's Law" at the conference ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S) in Amsterdam in September. I wrote about the workshop in my previous blog post.
For more information about the outcome of the first (2015) workshop on Computing with Limits, please have a look at the August special issue on LIMITS 2015 in the peer-reviewd online journal First Monday. Here is the introduction to the special issue and here is the table of contents with links to no less than 14 papers that were presented at LIMITS 2015. This year's workshop is organised in cooperation with ACM so all papers will be available in the ACM Digital Library. I will post additional blog posts about the papers I contributed to LIMITS 2016 after we have submitted the camera-ready versions (deadline April 30).
CALL FOR PAPERS
The submission site is now open for submissions; see below for details.
LIMITS aims to foster research on the impact of present or future ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits on computing and computing research to respond to such limits. The medium-term aim of the workshop is to foster concrete research, potentially of an interdisciplinary nature, that innovates on technologies, techniques, and contexts for computing within fundamental limits. A longer-term goal is to build a community around relevant topics and research. A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity.
We envision two broad categories of papers: "discussion papers" and "systems papers" (see below). Submissions do not need to strictly fit into either category. All papers should succinctly frame the limits that are of interest to the author(s).
Discussion papers explore the nature of limits and computing. Good discussion contributions will detail the nature of the limits of interest, describe their impact on computing, and present directions for future research. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:
Sustainability and computing
Re-evaluation of conventional computing premises (e.g. Moore's law)
Discussion of new limits and their implications for computing
Analysis of unnecessary computing
Analysis of greenwashing in computing
Ecological economics and/or biophysical economics and computing
Implications of limits for computing systems for health, education, agriculture, transportation, entertainment, commerce, etc.
Systems papers describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of computing systems that work within or help cope with limits. Also of interest are evaluations of systems that fail due to limits. Good systems contributions will address problems that meet present or future societal needs, describe clear limits and operational boundaries, and provide a detailed evaluation of the system in question. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:
Material- and manufacturing-constrained computing devices
Energy- and material-efficient computing and communication
Wide-area communication under constraints
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design under constraints
Evaluation of limits to modern computing systems
Life-cycle analysis of computing systems under limits
Computer architecture for constrained computing
Systems for health, education, agriculture, transportation, entertainment, commerce, etc. under limits