Surveys by CompSustNet

CompSustNet is collecting information and feedback in two forms. Please fill one or both out, as you deem appropriate.

Census of CompSustNet Participants: This questionnaire is to collect basic data on participants, broadly construed, of CompSustNet, as well as to collect information more broadly about those working on (or at least interested in) problems of computational sustainability.  If you want to be added to the CompSustNet mailing list, please fill out this form. All questions are optional, but we hope to get your name and affiliation at a minimum.

Feedback on OEDS at CompSust-16: We welcome feedback on issues related to Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis (OEDS) for CompSustNet. All questions are optional. Questions 4-8 follow the broad areas outlined in the OEDS presentation at CompSust-2016. The final question is an opportunity for less structured comments. Feel free to email any other thoughts on OEDS issues at any time to

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at 

Making it Local

This post is by Selina Chen. See her bio and contact information below.

When I told a friend that I was going to be doing research with a professor over the summer on Computational Sustainability, my friend said, “That’s so cool!….what’s Computational Sustainability?”.

Having barely been introduced to the field at the time myself, I tried to explain it as best I could: “It’s, you know, computing! But for sustainability!” (Such a great in-depth explanation, I know. Though I’m undoubtedly still a novice in the field, I like to think I could offer a more thorough and compelling answer now.)

Nevertheless, I’m sure this is a question that many across the CompSust Network have encountered when speaking to people who aren’t in the field. It isn’t that people aren’t aware of Computational Sustainability efforts – you hear about awesome, new inventions to help protect the environment in the news all the time, like the PAWS software mentioned in a previous post on this blog. It’s just that the name “Computational Sustainability” isn’t tied to these projects that are in the news, which is understandable given the field’s relative youth.

So what can we do to get people’s attention, and let them know that this a field of study that they, too, can participate in and learn more about?

Well, we already discussed some of the current efforts being made to raise interest and awareness, including the introduction of Computational Sustainability into higher education. However, for the general public, broader, less academic-focused overtures need to be made. Your average citizen isn’t going to dive into research papers on how best to optimize wildlife protected habitat or how to best locate wind farms, for example.

A huge component in getting people interested in Computational Sustainability, and sustainability generally, may involve making them feel like they can contribute. Of course, getting everyone to participate has its difficulties, as people don’t just want to be told they make a difference – they want to see the visible impact that their efforts have made. A common question is “What difference can one person make?”. This is an understandable attitude, since the difference one individual can make by changing their lifestyle and habits is so very small, but one that needs to be overridden if change on a global scale is to occur. For example, research into behavioral wedges seek to incentivize and change environmental behaviors of individuals.

One way we can get people engaged is by “bringing the issues home.” This can be done in a variety of ways, such as focusing more on consequences of research and development on local community. For example, NASA’s Exploring the Environment through Global Climate Change website has some excellent instructional tools and resources for making it local and educating the community on environmental issues. Since I am writing from Nashville, I will draw upon some Nashville examples.

An example of computational sustainability research that would be of great interest in Nashville, and many other places, is a paper written by researchers at the University of Colorado. They address the ways in which residential landscape design can conserve water through the phenomenon of facilitation, in which some plants are placed to shade other plants from harsh sun. Obviously, such an application, focused on residential systems, would have attractions in a local setting.

Another research project with the potential to connect computational sustainability with local concerns is the Nashville Yard Project, which is also concerned with landscaping. The goal of this project is to help homeowners make eco-friendly lawn care decisions on lawn fertilization so as to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions. This project does not currently employ computational methods, but there are clear possibilities to use and study computing-enabled social networks and citizen science, agent-based modeling, and computer simulations.

Various other projects are being carried out by groups like Metro Nashville Public Works, the Cumberland River Compact, and the Mayor’s Office Infrastructure and Sustainability team. An on-going example is the Green and Complete Street Project, which involves designing sustainable, eco-friendly streets, which help to alleviate flooding and promote commerce. An article detailing the design process and implementation of the first of these streets, Deaderick Street, can be found here.

(A photo of the Deaderick Street, Nashville’s first ‘Green Street’ project. Image Credit: Douglas H. Fisher)

The Green Street Project, as with the Yard Project, may not involve computing in its current form, but social networking, citizen science, and agent-based modeling are all computational sustainability themes that could be employed in this project. Certainly, they may have already used computational concepts during the project, such as optimization to maximizes greenery and water diversion, while providing enough room for traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

My highlights of the Green Street Project and the Yard Project are intended to show the potential of starting with a local project, and bringing computational sustainability into it. The first paper I highlighted, on landscape design to conserve water, highlights the potential for the inverse — starting with an abstract computational sustainability project and making it local.

With the exception of the completed Deaderick “Green” Street and other green streets (e.g., Korean Veterans Parkway), the projects above are research that lack visibility to the general public, and thus ones in which the citizenry cannot participate in or use for their own ends. Sure, people believe that “more plants = good” but they probably don’t know that the type of fertilizer they choose can have an impact on emissions or that the way they decide to design their gardens/landscape could help conserve water.

One of our aims on this blog, and one of the projects you’ll be hearing more about from us in the future, is our goal of coming up with strategies that take research results and make them local, and otherwise compelling to citizens.

(A photo of the Korea Veterans Parkway, another of Nashville’s ‘Green Streets’. Image Credit: Douglas H. Fisher)

Selina Chen is a Computer Science  undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, with a love for sci-fi novels, superheroes, and art.  Currently, she’s having fun exploring the various ways art can be used to make data beautiful and engaging for the public.The opinions expressed herein are Selina’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. You can reach Selina at

Towards a Global Online Course in Computational Sustainability

A number of us at CompSustNet have been talking about the timeliness of an open, online course on computational sustainability. This blog post elaborates on that suggestion, drawing significantly from my unpublished presentation on the subject to the 18th Annual Conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (October, 2012) entitled Regional Sections of Massively Open Online Courses.

Open online courses, both synchronous (aka “massive”) and self-paced, and other “unbundled” educational content encourage a world community of learners and educators. Perhaps for the first time in history, instructors at different institutions, even separated by great distances, can co-create and co-teach courses (see my  Online Learning report with Armando Fox for the Computing Community Consortium of CRA). Beyond the considerable research prowess in CompSustNet, there is growing experience with the teaching of computational sustainability. The time seems right for a global course on computational sustainability.

Experience with open, online courses is that local groups sometimes self-organize, meeting in coffee shops and libraries, to discuss and collaborate on online course material. Moreover, local study groups can be organized by the online course teams (e.g., an online course for future STEM university educators), anticipated by my 2012 talk.

In a distributed computational sustainability course created and managed by CompSustNet, we can also explore ways that collocated institutions can cooperate in hosting more formalized regional “sections” of the online course, allowing students at these institutions, together with other enrolled community members, to come together to collaborate on the materials, perhaps facilitated by faculty and other partners. The images below show cities with CompSustNet-affiliated institutions in the United States and Europe, with other affiliates, not shown, in Australia and Ecuador.


Image: Cities of CompSustNet-affiliated institutions in the U.S. and Europe (click to enlarge).

A global course can also be a way of growing the network of affiliates, both in the immediate vicinity of current affiliates, but also into new parts of countries and continents.

Regionally-situated sections may bring special perspectives to the material, feeding into the course’s world discourse. For example, a worldwide course on machine learning and optimization for environmental and societal sustainability may have a theme of “What will ‘our’ region be like in 30 years?” A Nashville section with Vanderbilt University, and other local universities, such as Fisk, Tennessee State, Belmont, and David Lipscomb universities as partners could have a special focus on computing analysis of water resources, flood events, and other Nashville-specific concerns, with additional partners such as the Nashville Civic Design Center, the Cumberland River Compact, and the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, with possibilities for community-based projects.

As I prepare the second offering of Vanderbilt’s course in Computing, Energy, and the Environment for this Fall, I will be contacting guest presenters from across CompSustNet, and I hope that this and other guest lecture arrangements across the network serve as a stepping stone towards a computational sustainability online course that is open to the world.

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at Doug would love to hear about your computational sustainability education efforts — in universities, colleges, K-12, and professional development.

Computational Sustainability for Everyone: Poaching the Poachers with PAWS

This post is by Zimei Bian. See her bio and contact information below.

Poaching is the illegal hunting, killing, or capture of wildlife. Preyed on by both trophy hunters and those that seek to profit from their extraordinarily-priced body parts, animals playing critical roles in our ecosystem have been pushed to near-extinction in recent years as their populations have dropped to unsustainably low numbers. To get an idea of the extent of the problem, the Black rhino population has declined by 97.6% since 1960, and up to 35,000 African elephants were killed just last year. To learn more about the motivations and impact behind illegal poaching, watch “Last Days”, a short film by Oscar-winning director Kathyrn Bigelow (of Last Days of Ivory), below:

(“Last Days”, a short film by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow)

To combat this global poaching crisis, a team of researchers at the University of Southern California led by CompSustNet Associate Director Milind Tambe are adding artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix. While human patrols at wildlife protection agencies serve as the primary form of protection for endangered species, the large sizes of reserves and limited resources give illegal poachers a significant advantage in avoiding capture. Funded by the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Tambe’s team is working on the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security, or PAWS, to assist conservation agencies in optimizing patrol routes that cover areas where poachers are most likely to attack.

(PAWS visual model – credit to

Developed in 2013, PAWS builds a behavior model that aims to predict poaching activities by analyzing existing patrolling and poaching data while accounting for natural routes with the most animal traffic. The software then generates randomized patrol strategies in the form of route suggestions for rangers to cover the potential problem areas while avoiding predictable patterns, taking into consideration the protected area’s existing terrain to minimize time and energy consumption. As more data is collected, the information is fed back into the PAWS system, allowing the software to “learn” and improve its strategies. You can watch the official video for PAWS here:

(PAWS video – Winner of Best Application of Artificial Intelligence @ AAAI Video Competition 2016)

The PAWS software is currently being tested. A field test was conducted in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park in 2014, and the study was presented at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence this past February. In the meantime, check out this poaching infographic by the African Wildlife Foundation and learn more about this incredible application of computational sustainability here.

Stay tuned for the debrief on other exciting projects in the Computational Sustainability Network!

Zimei Bian is a Computer Science  undergraduate at Vanderbilt University with a special passion for interactive storytelling and using tech for social good. In her spare time, she enjoys internet cat pictures and story-driven video games. The opinions expressed herein are Zimei’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. You can reach Zimei at

Computational Sustainability at the Symposium on AI for Social Good

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored yet another symposium with clear connections to computational sustainability — I summarized an earlier symposium on Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs.

This most recent symposium on Artificial Intelligence for Social Good was co-sponsored by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), as well as the CCC. The videos of the talks and panels are online.

CompSustNet Deputy Director Thomas Dietterich and Associate Director Milind Tambe are featured on the panel on Environmental Sustainability.

  • Short Talks and Panel – Environmental Sustainability
    Moderated by Greg Hager, Johns Hopkins University
  • Tom Dietterich, Oregon State University – Understanding and Managing Ecosystems through Artificial Intelligence
  • Reuben Sarkar, The U.S. Department of Energy – Getting SMARTer on Future Mobility and Energy
  • Milind Tambe, University of Southern California – Green Security: How AI can help protect endangered wildlife, fish, forests
  • Tanya Berger Wolf, University of Illinois at Chicago – Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Data Science for Ecology and Conservation

Tom Dietterich (at 2:30 minutes) categorizes computational sustainability projects by their focus on data collection, data interpretation, data integration, model fitting (through machine learning), policy optimization for decision making, and policy execution, with exemplar projects in each category. Milind Tambe (at 18:10 minutes) talks about game theory applied to protection of natural resources, notably the the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), a focus of an upcoming post by Zimei Bian.

Other sessions are also relevant to CompSustNet, most notably the panel on Urban Computing.  All three speakers focused on transportation, a topic with good representation  in AAAI-16’s Computational Sustainability track too.

  • Short Talks and Panel Discussion – Urban Computing
    Moderated by Amy Greenwald, Brown University
  • Dan Hoffman, Montgomery County, Maryland – The Interface between People and Their Government
  • Stephen Smith, Carnegie Mellon University – Smart Infrastructure for Urban Mobility
  • Pascal van Hentenryck, University of Michigan – Reinventing Mobility with Artificial Intelligence

Dan Hoffman addresses policy and operational challenges of using autonomous public transportation (e.g., buses). Stephen Smith (at 10:00 minutes) describes a pilot project in Pittsburgh that uses adaptive and reactive software to control intersections with demonstrated benefits at reducing congestion, and reducing the consequences (e.g., CO2, time and monetary costs). Pascal van Hentenryck (at 20:30 minutes) describes a pilot project in Canberra Australia that uses a system of commuting hubs (i.e., park-and-rides) and on-demand public transportation, such as express buses and cabs, to reduce urban congestion as well.

Computational sustainability topics appear elsewhere in the symposium program, including Eric Horvitz’ keynote talk, in which he spotlights a number of areas, to include “precision agriculture” (at 22:15 minutes) and wildlife protection planning (24:15 minutes).

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at

Summary of Computational Sustainability Papers at AAAI-2016

My survey of selected papers in the Computational Sustainability track of AAAI-2016 will appear in the July/August Issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems, with an allowed preprint on my website available now.  The preprint includes links to the papers in the online proceedings.

The IEEE Intelligent Systems article surveys computational methods that aid in various aspects of human decision making, to include data collection; learning models from data; model-based reasoning and simulation; reactive decision making under existing-design constraints; and designing sustainable environments “from scratch”. These methods are applied to sustainability applications involving the natural environment; socio-economic dimensions of sustainability; transportation; and other human-built infrastructure.

In addition to briefly summarizing each of the eighteen papers of the Computational Sustainability track, I offer some meta-commentary on

  • the potential rebound effects on the environment of computational applications (e.g., that result from making what are largely disfunctional traffic systems slightly more tolerable);
  • tradeoffs between various design criteria (e.g., designing road networks for routine commuting and design for emergency evacuation); and
  • being cautious about design criteria that are related to, but at a distance from, environmental impacts (e.g., energy cost savings versus energy use savings).

As editor of the Sustainability column of IEEE Intelligent Systems, I am on the lookout for guest columnists. If you have a computational sustainability topic that you would like to write up for a broad audience of computing professionals, please contact me … if I don’t contact you first! IEEE Intelligent Systems allows you to keep a preprint on your Website.

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at

Exploring Synergies with other NSF-Funded Centers and Networks

CompSustNet is a big investment for NSF, as are other NSF-funded sustainability-oriented centers and networks. Even as we further the depth and breadth of research within our own network, there are opportunities for understanding our place in the larger set of sustainability centers and networks, and building and exploiting relationships with them. These need not be tightly-coupled relationships, and probably will not be, at least not initially. Loosely-coupled interactions with other centers and networks include (a) trading wisdom and plans about managing big network/center operations, to include outreach and education plans (e.g., by attending other-center workshops); and (b) using our (CompSustNet’s) computational methods to analyze data that are generated by these other centers.

Large NSF-funded centers for which there are synergies with CompSustNet include those that attend to decision making and human behavior, the natural environment, energy efficiency, and materials. Indeed, large centers will typically cross some of these broad areas. The list below, with mission statements, may seem long, but its only a start.

  • Transdisciplinary Research Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management : “… SCRiM links a transdisciplinary team of scholars … to answer the question, “What are sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible climate risk management strategies?
  • National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center : “The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is dedicated to accelerating scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. We support new interdisciplinary collaborations that pursue data-driven solutions to pressing socio-environmental problems.
  • AirWaterGas: A NSF Sustainability Research Network : “AirWaterGas is a team of scientists, engineers, public health experts, educators, policy analysts, economists, and lawyers working together to address a single driving question: How can we better integrate information about the environmental, economic, and social tradeoffs of oil and gas development into policy guiding development and regulations governing development?”
  • Water and Environmental Technology Center : “The mission is to develop methods/technologies to detect, understand, mitigate and/or control contaminants, including emerging contaminants of concern, that can adversely impact water quality and the environment. The vision of the WET Center is to minimize any potential adverse effects of contaminants on human health and/or the environment.”
  • Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science“To enable a radical reduction in energy consumption in electronic devices: Research to lead to fundamentally new science; Educate a diverse generation of scientists, engineers, and technicians; Promote the application of the Center’s research outcomes.”
  • Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment : “The mission of CAICE is to transform our ability to accurately predict the impact of aerosols on climate and our environment by bringing real-world chemical complexity into the laboratory.”
  • Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry : “Conduct curiosity-driven and use-inspired research to enhance the sustainable chemistry toolbox with new methods and new techniques that will advance the scientific enterprise and transform the next generation of products, while preparing students to become the next generation of green chemists.”
  • Center for Sustainable Polymers“The mission of the Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) is to transform how plastics are made and unmade through innovative research, engaging education, and diverse partnerships that together foster environmental stewardship.”
  • The Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology“We aim to understand, predict, and control the specific chemical and physical interactions between nanomaterial surfaces and living systems via a molecular level, chemistry-centered approach.” 

Some NSF centers may have little in common thematically with CompSustNet, but may nonetheless present opportunities for new applications of computational approaches.

  • Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment
    “MIRTHE’s goal is to develop Mid-Infrared (λ – 3-30 µm) optical trace gas sensing systems based on new technologies such as quantum cascade lasers or quartz enhanced photo-acoustic spectroscopy, with the ability to detect minute amounts of chemicals found in the environment or atmosphere, emitted from spills, combustion, or natural sources, or exhaled.”

There are other centers that CompSustNet would complement with a sustainability focus. For example, the Center for e-Design reveals no explicit concern with sustainable design, an area in which some CompSustNet members are deeply interested, so interactions across networks may increase the scope of each.

  • Center for e-Design : “The coalition was established to create new design paradigms and electronic design tools that will assist in generating high quality products and systems at a reduced cost while also reducing the time associated with designing complex engineered products and systems.”

Finally, there are many centers  and networks that are funded by sources other than NSF, which CompSustNet will also undoubtedly connect with.

  • Center for Water and the Environment :  “To foster the economic development of Minnesota’s Natural Resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.”

Enumerating the conceptual and social connections — existing and potential — between large centers could be a great benefit to NSF. It is probable that no such map exists in the corridors of NSF or elsewhere, primarily for reasons of NSF staff workload (e.g., as discussed under posts on NSF Program Director experience and  implementations of NSF broader impacts). The CompSustNet synthesis team will be working to produce an easily visualized map across centers and networks, as well as building on existing visualizations created for within-CompSustNet relationships.

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at

Welcome Undergraduates to CompSustNet!

On June 1 two Vanderbilt University rising seniors in computer science, Zimei Bian and Selina Chen, started working with me on CompSustNet. They are supported for the summer by NSF award Collaborative Research: CompSustNet: Expanding the Horizons of Computational Sustainability.

I am so happy to have Zimei and Selina working with me, on behalf of CompSustNet. Some of this post is dedicated to Zimei’s and Selina’s activities, but their tasks can be adapted to any institution within ComSustNet. I conclude this post with a reminder that Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) awards can expand undergraduate participation in CompSustNet still further.

VU undergraduate assistants participate in each of three classes of activities, but students vary in the extent that they concentrate in each area, depending on their interests and strengths, and the needs of CompSustNet.

  1. Each student assistant becomes conversant with the research being conducted in CompSustNet,  by reading articles and participating in CompSustNet conference calls and local meetings. Students with particular interests in communication of science and technology, to include students majoring in Communication of Science and Technology, an undergraduate major at Vanderbilt, dive deeper into selected areas of the network, blog about CompSustNet activities, and prepare overviews of CompSustNet research for publication or broad dissemination through other means (e.g., a YouTube video module).
  2. Each student helps translate selected research problems and results of CompSustNet into educational exercises appropriate for courses across the computer science curriculum (e.g., for inclusion in CompSust wikibooks). Students particularly interested in CS education can concentrate in this area, with additional goals of preparing papers to CS-education focused conferences (e.g., SIGCSE) or broad dissemination through other suitable means (e.g., contributions to Nifty Assignments).
  3. Each student participates in a CompSust research project with me and/or other faculty in CompSustNet or Vanderbilt, with expectations for research result dissemination (e.g., co-authorship on publications) to depend on project and mentor.

Look for blog posts by Zimei and Selina here, as well as references to their other work on CompSustNet. And if you are a CompSustNet participant, don’t be surprised if you receive a query from them, or introduce themselves at the CompSust-16 conference in July!

More generally, CompSustNet will employ systematic strategies to engage undergraduate assistants. We will do this, in part, through REU supplemental awards on selected NSF collaborative awards that directly support CompSustNet. These REU supplements could support undergraduate participation on research projects in CompSustNet, or with proper planning and justification, even suitable projects outside of CompSustNet as currently construed. The appropriate use of REU supplements can be a mechanism for both strengthening the bonds within the network, as well as for extending the network. It is also worth considering whether REU sites might be a distinct way of growing the computational sustainability community still further!

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at

CCC Symposium on Computing Research to Address Societal Needs

Two weeks ago I attended the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) symposium on “Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs.

The invited talks and panels, which were live streamed, are now available on video.

The morning session of the first day was on “Computing in the Physical World” and was opened with a keynote presentation by CompSustNet Director, Carla Gomes. Carla’s talk covered the growth of computational sustainability as a field, and spotlighted the participants and research thrusts of CompSustNet as the most recent addition to that history.

The sustainability challenges are many — protecting biodiversity, citizen science, materials discovery, poverty mitigation, as are the computational approaches implicated by these challenges, to include include dynamical systems, uncertainty, big data, and prediction.

One of Carla’s major points was that computational approaches of broad applicability can emerge by addressing sustainability challenges. In this talk she gives a compelling example of how streamlining constraint reasoning arose from addressing a problem of fertilizer distribution.

The online talk, which is second of the video presentations and includes accompanying slides, and CompSustNet website give many more details.

Talks that followed Carla’s in the Monday morning session are also in the computational sustainability fold, and my twitter feed shows quite a few gems (@DougOfNashville #cccsymposium).  The morning session agenda was as follows.

Keynote – Computational Sustainability: Computational Methods for Sustainable Development by Carla Gomes, Professor and Director of the Institute for Computational Sustainability at Cornell University

Short Talks and Panel Discussion- Opportunities in Urban Environments (Smart Cities)

  • Sokwoo Rhee, National Institute of Standards and Technology – Internet of Things and Smart Cities
  • Carter Hewgley, Johns Hopkins University, Center for Government Excellence- Converting Insight into Action
  • Charlie Catlett, Argonne National Laboratory and the Computation Institute – Open Data and Instrumented Cities

Short Talks and Panel Discussion- Opportunities in Agriculture, Environment, Disaster, Food-Energy-Water

  • Sonny Ramaswamy, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – Societal Challenges and Nutritional Security: The Role of Cyberphysical Systems and Big Data
  • Shashi Shekhar, University of Minnesota – Computing Challenges in Food, Energy, and Water Nexus: A Perspective
  • Robin Murphy, Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) and the Center for Emergency Informatics and Texas A&M University – Computing for Disasters

In addition to the plenary talks and panels, poster summaries are also online, to include a poster on Computational Sustainability by CompSustNet Executive Council member, Bistra Dilkina, of Georgia Tech.

The CCC is an office of the Computing Research Association (CRA), and CCC/CRA hosted an earlier visioning workshop on the Role of Information Sciences and Engineering for Sustainability, as well as workshops in many other areas. In fact, this most recent symposium was something of an overview of selected earlier workshops, to include those on privacy and healthcare, as well as sustainability.

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at

CompSust-2016: 4th International Conference on Computational Sustainability

Earlier this week, CompSustNet Director, Carla Gomes, announced the CompSust-2016: The 4th International Conference on Computational Sustainability.

          CompSust-2016 @ Cornell
          4th International Conference on Computational Sustainability

          Correct Important Dates

          Abstract submission -May 21, 2016
          Doctoral consortium application – May 21, 2016
          Notification of acceptance May 27, 2016
          Early registration deadline June 3, 2016 (5pm EDT)
          Conference July 6-8, 2016

          For more information check the conference website:

          Hope to see you there,


        Carla P. Gomes
        Conference Co-Chair

You can find the list of past CompSust conferences at the bottom of the 2016 conference website. I attended the first CompSust conference in 2009, very probably the most exciting and interesting conference I have attended since my graduate student days, when all things were new. I am reposting my somewhat rambling recollections of that first CompSust conference, both when I touched down at Ithaca airport prior to the conference and as I left the same airport after the conference, on my personal blog.

In addition to dedicated conferences on computational sustainability, equally important outlets for computational sustainability research are established, mainstream conferences on artificial intelligence, such as AAA-16, which will be a topic of posts in the near future.

Douglas H. Fisher is CompSustNet’s Director of Outreach, Education, Diversity, and Synthesis. The opinions expressed herein are Doug’s and not necessarily those of Cornell University. Contact Doug at

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