Friday, October 6, 2017

Sustainable Development in the Computing Curriculum

Klimova and Rondeau (2017) look at sustainable development and green technologies in university computing (ICT) curricula. The authors begin with the broad area sustainable development and then more specifically green computing interchangeably. Sustainable development is a far broader field than green computing. Sustainable development, in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to meet human needs as well as environmental benefits. Green computing is limited to reducing the environmental impact of computers and using them for environmental benefit.

Klimova and Rondeau (2017, p. 4) found that 13.6% of joint master degree scholarships in the EU's Erasmus Mundus program are for sustainable development.  Only one program "Pervasive Computing and Communications for Sustainable Development" (PERCCOM), covers explicitly green computing.

The authors suggest the UK are leaders in green computing education at universities. I was not able to find the cited Leeds Beckett University MSc in Sustainable Computing, only an examiners report from 2015/2016. The University of Leicester Master’s degree in Environmental Informatics is still offered, but this is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, rather than the British Computer Society and may not be considered a computing degree. Similarly the Lancaster University Data Science MSc may be a more general science degree. Scandinavian countries are rated next after the UK for incorporating sustainability, followed by Germany.

Fourth on the list is Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), "Despite the lack of educational programs in green
ICT/computing". My  ICT Sustainability course, offered through the Australian Computer Society, the Australian National University, and Open University Australia is cited in support of this (Worthington, 2012).

The authors suggest that sustainability education will be driven by industry demand, particularly for datacenter energy saving. They suggest there may be future opportunities for smart cities, buildings, energy grids, and transport, in part driven by international climate change agreements.


Klimova, A., & Rondeau, E. (2017, July). Education for cleaner production in information and communication technologies curriculum. In 20th IFAC World Congress, IFAC 2017. URL
Worthington, T. (2012, July). A Green computing professional education course online: Designing and delivering a course in ICT sustainability using Internet and eBooks. In Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on (pp. 263-266). IEEE. URL

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