June 23, 2016

Conference to focus on computing for a greener world

A movement launched seven years ago is coming home as Cornell hosts CompSust-2016, the fourth International Conference on Computational Sustainability, July 6-8.

Representatives from research institutions and government agencies worldwide will gather to discuss ways to use the power of computing to protect endangered species, fight poverty and hunger, and balance energy needs with protecting the environment. Events will be centered in Clark Hall.

There will be “very short talks,” promised professor of computer science Carla Gomes, director of the Cornell Institute for Computational Sustainability. “There is so much to showcase to give the group a good sampling of the richness of our work.”

The conference includes a special session marking the official launch of CompSustNet, a worldwide organization bringing together computer, environmental, materials and social scientists, as well as biologists and physicists to expand the field of computational sustainability, with Cornell on the lead.

Many of today’s problems in ecology and conservation involve juggling large numbers of variables, often to find the optimum way to balance them – problems computers can solve by rapidly trying out all possible solutions.

Cornell researchers have designed corridors to help animals move through their habitats without interference from human activity, developed plans to prevent overfishing without crippling the fishing industry, and helped African herders find forage for their animals. Computing also plays a major role in such research projects as developing more efficient fuel cells and enhancing biofuel production.

The first International Conference on Computational Sustainability was held at Cornell in 2009. Subsequent conferences were held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 and the University of Copenhagen in 2012.

Attendance at the conference is open to members of the Cornell community and Ithaca residents without a registration fee. Registration is requested. The registration fee for non-local participants is $150 for students and junior researchers, $210 for all others.