Computing Research for the Climate Crisis

08/12/2021
by   Nadya Bliss, et al.
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Climate change is an existential threat to the United States and the world. Inevitably, computing will play a key role in mitigation, adaptation, and resilience in response to this threat. The needs span all areas of computing, from devices and architectures (e.g., low-power sensor systems for wildfire monitoring) to algorithms (e.g., predicting impacts and evaluating mitigation), and robotics (e.g., autonomous UAVs for monitoring and actuation) – as well as every level of the software stack, from data management systems and energy-aware operating systems to hardware/software co-design. The goal of this white paper is to highlight the role of computing research in addressing climate change-induced challenges. To that end, we outline six key impact areas in which these challenges will arise – energy, environmental justice, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, and environmental monitoring and forecasting – then identify specific ways in which computing research can help address the associated problems. These impact areas will create a driving force behind, and enable, cross-cutting, system-level innovation. We further break down this information into four broad areas of computing research: devices architectures, software, algorithms/AI/robotics, and sociotechnical computing. Additional contributions by: Ilkay Altintas (San Diego Supercomputer Center), Kyri Baker (University of Colorado Boulder), Sujata Banerjee (VMware), Andrew A. Chien (University of Chicago), Thomas Dietterich (Oregon State University), Ian Foster (Argonne National Labs), Carla P. Gomes (Cornell University), Chandra Krintz (University of California, Santa Barbara), Jessica Seddon (World Resources Institute), and Regan Zane (Utah State University).

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