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Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Steve Furber CBE FREng FRS, Mr Ian Osborne, Mr Simon McIntosh-Smith and Dr Andrew Rice
As business, academia and wider society globally all become increasingly reliant on computer systems, software and applications, how can we ensure that this growth is sustainable?
More efficient computing – from smarter algorithms, better chip design, more energy-aware software, and improved power management – offers opportunities to reduce energy consumption, improve mobile computing function, increase large data use, encourage sustainable behaviour, and lower the cost. From developing countries to global business, the benefits will be felt by all.
Computing has the capacity to make a crucial contribution to ensuring a sustainable future for society and the planet. Bringing together computer scientists, electronic engineers, business leaders, and industrial researchers, this meeting examines how that will be achieved.
A draft outline programme (pdf) is available, which is subject to change. The programme includes the opportunity to network at an evening reception held in partnership with the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network.
Biographies of the organisers and speakers are available below. Recorded audio of the presentations will be available on this page after the event.
Part of the year of science and industry.
This event is intended for staff and researchers in relevant fields of business, academia and the public sector, and is free to attend. There are a limited number of places and registration is essential.
Enquiries: Contact the events team
Professor Steve Furber CBE FREng FRS, University of ManchesterOrganiser
Steve Furber CBE FRS FREng is the ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester. He received his BA degree in Mathematics in 1974 and his PhD in Aerodynamics in 1980 from the University of Cambridge. From 1980 to 1990 he worked in the hardware development group within the R&D department at Acorn Computers Ltd, and was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor. He moved to his present position at Manchester in 1990, where he leads the Advanced Processor Technologies research groups with interests in many-core architecture, low-power and asynchronous digital design, and neural systems engineering.
Ian Osborne, ICT Knowledge Transfer NetworkOrganiser
Ian is Director of Cloud and Big Data in the Information and Communications Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network (ICT KTN), part of the programme funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Government's Innovation Agency. KTNs work closely with academics, leading industry suppliers and early adopters to promote ICT-based innovation in private and public sector organisations. His key areas of industry interest lie in Cloud Computing, Sustainability and Standards, especially for Government and SME applications. He leads the KTN Software Engineering Working Group and is a contributor to the Energy-efficient Computing and e-Infrastructure Special Interest Groups funded by the TSB.
Ian has worked in ICT since 1972, with early stints at British Airways and International Computers Limited. In 1979, he joined Hewlett-Packard Limited where he enjoyed a substantial career working in Research & Development, Quality and Marketing at HP locations in the US and UK. He held senior management positions in HP's Corporate Research Laboratories in Bristol and Telecom Systems Business in Edinburgh. He has an MSc in the Management of Technology, a joint degree awarded by the Universities of Sussex and Brighton in 1992. He conducted research work in the area of Innovation Management in the Doctoral Programme at Cranfield University between 2004 and 2006. He is a Member of the British Computer Society and a Chartered Information Technology Professional, a past chair of the BCS Distributed and Scalable Computing Special Interest Group, a Member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Simon McIntosh-Smith, University of Bristol Organiser
Head of the Microelectronics Group and Bristol University Business Fellow, Senior Lecturer in High Performance Computing and Architectures at the University of Bristol.
Dr Andrew Rice, University of CambridgeOrganiser
Dr Rice is a University Lecturer in the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory working in the Digital Technology Group and a Fellow of Queens' College.
The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and ScienceOpening remarks
David Willetts was appointed Minister for Universities and Science in May 2010. He is the Conservative MP for Havant in Hampshire.
David began his career in Parliament as the MP for Havant in 1992. He served as Paymaster General and then in the Shadow Cabinet in a range of roles, including Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Shadow Secretary for Education and Skills, and Shadow Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills. He has also worked at HM Treasury and in the Number 10 Policy Unit.
Simon Wardley, CSC's Leading Edge ForumSituation normal everything must change
Many technological and economic systems share common patterns with biological systems. They are driven by competition. They evolve and co-evolve to good enough components that enable more complex systems. They are governed by ecosystems and undergo adaptive cycles of change including periods of rapid change known as punctuated equilibriums. They consume energy in a pursuit of balancing advantage with entropy, and have inertia to change, but a necessity to adapt and new forms of organisation continuously emerge which exploit this environment through more effective means.
Cloud computing is an example of this complex situation though it is highly predictable in its nature having first been outlined in 1966 by Douglas Parkhill. In this talk, Simon will examine the cycle of change, what this means, and how lessons from the past such as Jevons Paradox, can help us explain were we are heading.
Simon Wardley is a Researcher for CSC’s Leading Edge Forum, a global research and thought leadership community dedicated to helping large organizations become more successful by identifying and adopting Next Practices at the growing intersection between business and information technology. Simon’s focus is on the intersection of IT strategy and new technologies, and his most recently published research (December 2012), is entitled Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts: Strategies for an Increasingly Open Economy. Simon has also recently covered topics including Learning from Web 2.0 and A Lifecycle Approach to Cloud Computing
Simon has spent the last 15 years defining future IT strategies for companies in the FMCG, Retail and IT industries. From Canon’s early leadership in the cloud computing space in 2005, to Ubuntu’s recent dominance as the No 1 Cloud operating system.
As a geneticist with a love of mathematics and a fascination in economics, Simon has always found himself dealing with complex systems, whether it’s in behavioural patterns, environmental risks of chemical pollution, developing novel computer systems or managing companies. He is a passionate advocate and researcher in the fields of open source, commoditization, innovation, organizational structure and cybernetics.
Simon is a regular presenter at conferences worldwide, and was voted as one of the UK's top 50 most influential people in IT in ComputerWeekly’s 2012 and 2011 polls.
Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi FREng, Southampton UniversityChair of Session 2. Panel member for Session 5.
Bashir M. Al-Hashimi is the founder and director of the Pervasive Systems Research Centre in the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. He is also the co-director of the ARM-ECS research centre. Professor Al-Hashimi has conducted extensive research into methods, algorithms and design automation tools for low-power design and test of microelectronic and embedded computing systems.
In an industrial and academic career spanning 25 years, Professor Al-Hashimi has authored 300 publications, authored, co-authored and edited five research books in topics ranging from electronic circuits simulation to low-power test of integrated circuits, system-on-chip to energy-efficient embedded systems. He is very proud of the career development of his students; (successfully supervising 30 PhD theses), many of whom now hold senior positions in industry and academia worldwide.
He has a worldwide reputation for research into energy-efficient, reliable and testable digital hardware and has a strong track record of innovation in system-level power management and power-constrained testing of systems-on-chip used in handheld devices. He has recently become the project leader for a £5.6 million EPSRC programme called PRiME that brings together four UK universities to investigate the design and implementation of future high-performance energy-efficient and dependable embedded systems with many-core processors.
Professor Martin Curley, Vice President, Intel Labs and Director, Intel Labs Europe, Intel CorporationPlan C for a digital low carbon future – less is Moore
Many reports warn of the consequences of ignoring the need for a new sustainability paradigm. The global footprint network has stated that if current consumption trends continue we would need two world’s worth of resources to support us by 2050. This presentation discusses a new approach called Plan C which enables a trajectory towards a digital low carbon society and economy. Moore’s Law is one of the few modern business phenomena which actually support the Sustainability Paradigm and the doubling in transistor density every other year delivered at less or equal cost with increasing energy efficiency has continued for several decades. While the semiconductor and computing industries are playing their roles in improving the energy efficiency of devices, the big opportunity is to use IT to achieve resource coupling so that GDP and quality of life can continue to improve whilst environmental impact and resources consumption are reduced. This presentation presents a number of design patterns which help achieve resource decoupling through automation, dematerialization and substitution approaches.
Martin Curley is a vice president at Intel Corporation and director of Intel Labs Europe, the company's network of more than 40 research labs, development centers and open innovation collaborations spanning the European region. He also serves as a senior principal engineer at Intel Labs Europe, which is charged with helping to advance both Intel research and Europe's ability to compete in the global society. Curley leads Intel's research and innovation engagement with the European Commission and the broader European Union research ecosystem. He is also a co-director of the Innovation Value Institute, an industry-academic open innovation consortium that strives to promote structural change in the way companies and governments achieve value through information technology.
Curley is the author or co-author of three books on technology management for value, innovation and entrepreneurship and has published multiple papers in the area of IT, entrepreneurship and innovation management. He currently chairs the European Union Open Innovation Strategy and Policy group, an industry-led group advising on strategic priorities for open and service innovation.
Curley has a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering and a master's degree in business studies, both from University College Dublin, Ireland. He earned his Ph.D. in information systems from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Dr Kerstin Eder, University of BristolEnergy transparency from hardware to software
Energy efficiency is now a major (if not the major) concern in electronic systems engineering. While hardware can be designed to save a modest amount of energy, the potential for savings are far greater at the higher levels of abstraction in the system stack. The greatest savings are expected from energy consumption-aware software. This presentation is focused on the importance of energy transparency from hardware to software as a foundation for energy-aware system design. Energy transparency enables a deeper understanding of how algorithms and coding impact on the energy consumption of a computation when executed on hardware. It is a key prerequisite for informed design space exploration and helps system designers to find the optimal tradeoff between performance, accuracy and energy consumption of a computation. Promoting energy efficiency to a first class software design goal is therefore an urgent research challenge. I will give insights into a research agenda towards energy-aware software design, and show initial, very encouraging results in static analysis for energy consumption of programs based on energy consumption models for state-of-the-art hardware. This research forms part of a broader initiative towards Energy-Aware COmputing (EACO), and I will indicate opportunities for engagement at the European level in the near future in the context of a new collaborative project on ICT-Energy. The research leading to the results presented has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 318337, ENTRA - WholeSystems Energy Transparency, and from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Dr Kerstin Eder is a Reader in Design Automation and Verification at the University of Bristol. She holds a PhD in Computational Logic, an MSc in Artificial Intelligence and an MEng in Informatics. Her research includes specification, verification and analysis methods that allow designers to define a system and to verify/explore its behaviour in terms of functional correctness, performance, power consumption and energy efficiency. She has been active in Design Verification since 1997 and has well established working relationships with world-class semiconductor design and Electronic Design Automation companies through joint research, consultancy and teaching at the leading edge of microelectronic design and verification. In October 2010 she obtained a one year Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship to investigate power-efficient system design at XMOS Ltd. In 2011 she set up the Energy-Aware COmputing (EACO) initiative at Bristol - a platform for academic-industrial knowledge exchange and collaboration. She now chairs the associated EACO Workshop series. At Bristol, Kerstin is the Principal Investigator of the EC FP7 FET MINECC (Minimizing Energy Consumption of Computing to the Limit) collaborative research project “Whole Systems Energy Transparency (ENTRA)” which aims to promote energy efficiency to a first class software design goal by enabling energy transparency from hardware to software. Her research team is developing energy consumption models and static analysis techniques that feed into the compiler tool chain. At the Bristol Robotics Laboratory she develops approaches towards certification of autonomous systems; she has recently kick-started two new EPSRC funded research projects, one on Verification of Autonomous Systems and one on Safety of Human Assistive Robots. Kerstin has authored over 30 technical publications, currently holds grants as Principal Investigator valued in excess of £1.7M, and has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering “Excellence in Engineering” prize in 2007.
John Goodacre, Director, Technology and Systems, ARM Processor DivisionThe ARM approach to energy efficiency and chip level design
John joined ARM in February 2002 and took responsibility for their platform architecture. Today he is Director of Technology and Systems focused on various programs around the application processor’s roadmap including the definition and market development of the ARM multicore technology. Prior to working at ARM, he specialized in enterprise software having worked for Microsoft as Group Program Manager delivering Exchange 2000 Server. Graduating from the University of York with a BSc in Computer Science, John has over 25 years experience of realizing new technologies across various markets.
Professor Erol Gelenbe, Imperial College LondonChair of session 3. Panel member for session 5.
Erol investigates Energy and Quality of Service optimisation in computer systems and networks, and studies adaptive computation and communication in packet networks, nano-networks and biology. The performance engineering methods he developed in previous work are incorporated into the commercial software packages QNAP and FLEXSIM. He has invented analytically tractable performance models known as G-Networks that include control and service units, he designed the first random access fibre optics local area network and the first multiprocessor packet switch, and created the spiking Random Neural Network Model. He is a Fellow of the National Science Academies of Hungary, Poland and Turkey, Member of the French National Academy of Engineering, and Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and IET. He has won awards from ACM, IET and the French Academy of Sciences.
Kate Craig-Wood, MemsetSpeaker
Kate is a multi-award winning technology entrepreneur, owner-manager of Memset, a nationally leading managed hosting and cloud IaaS provider, and a renowned expert-advocate of green ICT and cloud computing.
Memset was Britain's first Carbon Neutral ISP (August 2006). As well as sitting on Intellect UK's main board, Kate chairs their climate change group, through which she has been instrumental in obtaining a Climate Change Agreement for data centres. Kate also sits on the ministerial Green Economy Council, championing the role of UK technology in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
She is also a member of the European Commission's prestigious European Cloud Partnership with the specific mandate of championing British cloud SMEs at a European level.
Kate significantly contributed to the formation of the G-Cloud and Memset are now among the new breed of SMEs supplying ICT services to the public sector via that framework. Memset were the second company to achieve Impact Level 2 (IL2) pan-government accreditation and are working with CESG towards IL3 accreditation.
In 2012 Memset won Datacentre Solutions Public Cloud award, have won PCPro's Best Web Host award for the last 7 years running and in 2011 won the BCS UK IT Small Supplier of the year award (highly commended in 2012).
In 2012 Computer Weekly ranked Kate as the 4th most influential woman in British ICT.
Zahl Limbuwala, Chief Executive Officer, Romonet LtdSpeaker
Zahl is a co-founder of Romonet and passionate about the data center and ICT industry. Starting his career as a chartered electrical engineer, he then moved into software development and later became a chartered IT professional. Zahl has over 16 years experience in a wide variety of roles across both start-up and enterprise businesses.As founder and Chairman of the BCS Data Centre Specialist Group, Chairman of the judging panel for DataCenterDynamics Annual Awards, consultant to the EU Code of Conduct for data centers, and regular keynote speaker at industry events around the world, Zahl enjoys widespread international recognition within the data center community.
Dr Alex Ramirez, Barcelona Supercomputing CenterEnergy efficiency and next-generation supercomputers
Energy efficiency is already a primary concern for the design of any computer system and it is unanimously recognized that future Exascale systems will be strongly constrained by their power consumption. High Performance Computing was initially built on specialized vector processors and data level parallelism. However, during the 1990's these were replaced by commodity microprocessors used in PCs and workstations in conjunction with message passing programming models. This transition occurred, not because these microprocessors were faster, but because they were more energy-efficient and lower cost. There is a new class of super-commodity processors emanating from the mobile device market, which is progressively integrating the features required for HPC. These mobile parts have always been designed to maximize performance per unit of energy and due to their volume, lower the cost. History may repeat itself, if they become more efficient in these respects than today's HPC parts. This is why the Mont-Blanc project, which was launched in October 2011, has set itself the following objective: to design a new type of computer architecture capable of setting future global High Performance Computing standards that will deliver Exascale performance while using 15 to 30 times less energy than today's best.
Alex Ramirez is an associated professor in the Computer Architecture Department at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, and leader of the Heterogeneous Architectures group at BSC. He has a BSc ('95), MSc ('97) and PhD ('02), awarded the UPC extraordinary award to the best PhD in computer science) in Computer Science from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain. He has co-authored over 150 papers in international conferences and journals, supervised 10 PhD students, and participated as principal investigator in the ACOTES, SARC, ENCORE and HiPEAC European Projects. He currently leads the Mont-Blanc project. In 2010 he was awarded the first Agustin de Betancourt award of the Spanish Royal Academy of Engineering to a young researcher.
Professor Andrew Hopper CBE FREng FRS, University of CambridgeChair of session 4. Panel member for session 5.
Andy Hopper is Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge, Head of Department of the Computer Laboratory, and elected member of the University Council. His research interests include computer networking, pervasive and sensor-driven computing, and using computers to ensure the sustainability of the planet. Andy Hopper has pursued academic and industrial careers simultaneously. In the academic career he has worked at the Computer Laboratory and the Department of Engineering at Cambridge. In the industrial context he has co-founded over a dozen spin-outs and start-ups, three of which floated on stock markets, as well as working for multinational companies. He is Chairman of RealVNC Group and Ubisense plc which between them have received five Queen's Awards for Enterprise. Professor Hopper received the BSc degree from the University College of Swansea (1974) and the PhD degree from the University of Cambridge (1978). He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1996) and of the Royal Society (2006). He was made a CBE for services to the computer industry (2007). During 2012-2013 he is President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Dr David Standingford, Zenotech LtdIndustrial use of high performance computing for sustainable design
The power and efficiency of many-core devices, such as graphical processing units, are very attractive to industries looking to numerical simulation to accelerate engineering design cycles and improve products. When accessed on-demand in the cloud, high performance computing systems offer a scalable resource with the benefits of commodity pricing.
We describe a number of live projects aimed at industrialising HPC. We focus on sustainability in a broad sense – from metrication of the energy consumption of simulation tasks for different hardware, software and algorithm combinations; developing aerospace-grade simulation capability on state-of-the-art many-core computing systems for offshore wind farm design, and motivating the next generation of engineers with a Bloodhound SSC inspired school teams competition to race virtual supersonic cars – with a real HPC simulation system made available via the internet.
David Standingford is a technology leader and manager with international experience in the UK, Australia and the USA. Prior to co-founding Zenotech Ltd, Standingford worked at the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre, most recently as the Theme Technology Leader for Design and Materials Technology, including Computational Engineering, Materials Science and Stealth. Following a First Class Honours BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science, Standingford completed a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. During this time he also lectured in mathematics and fluid dynamics and started a small technology company with 2 colleagues. Standingford left Australia in 1997 to take up a post-doctoral research position at the University of Delaware under the NASA Microgravity Programme. Standingford joined BAE Systems in 2000. Standingford is a member of several professional organisations and has served on numerous industrial advisory committees, including EPSRC, TSB and NPL and serves as the ERCOFTAC UK Pilot Centre lead.
Dr Adrian Friday, Lancaster University1000%: highs and lows of entertainment and IT in the home
Rather than focus on household or appliance level disaggregation of energy use in domestic settings, in our recent work we have begun to explore how energy use supports the services of everyday life. Our 'service based' quantification of energy use helps explain dramatic variations in direct energy impact for similar practices, e.g. 3 orders of magnitude between the lowest and highest consuming ways of achieving 'entertainment and IT'. In this talk we reveal the hidden impacts of IT devices due to their emergent uses and increased interconnectedness, and the challenges these pose for us in creating next generation hardware and software for a lower carbon future.
Adrian Friday is a Reader in Ubiquitous Computing and Sustainability at the School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University. His recent work focuses on the use of ubicomp systems as a platform for the empirical study of the energy and carbon impacts of technology in everyday life. His recent project `Informing Energy Choices using Ubiquitous Sensing’ (EP/I00033X/1), explored energy use in the home from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and uncovered both barriers to and opportunities for more sustainable living.
Professor David Robertson, University of EdinburghSustainability, Ubiquity and Social Computation
As devices and sensors become more common, networked and better attuned to those who use them, so we offer more opportunities for people to form social groups based on computer-mediated interactions. Massive corporations have been built on short timescapes based on human interest in networking and data sharing. Already we have social computation systems that solve problems that would resist conventional means of attack and can mobilise large human populations in pursuit of shared goals. We have, however, gained this expansion of social computing at an early stage when the human "computation cycles" available for a social computation are relatively easy to obtain. As social computation extends, we will need to find ways of maintaining and reinforcing it without exceeding the capacity for human engagement. This should ideally produce a vituous cycle, so that sustained social computation makes our own societies more sustainable. I will discuss what the benefits have been and might be from this sort of approach, given some assumptions about our ability to build the right sort of architectures and engineering methods.
Dave Robertson is Head of School of Informatics and Professor of Applied Logic at the University of Edinburgh. He is a member of the executive of the UK Computing Research Committee and the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Team for ICT. His current research is on formal methods for coordination and knowledge sharing in distributed, open systems using ubiquitous internet and mobile infrastructures - the long term goal being to develop theories, languages and tools that out-perform conventional software engineering approaches in these arenas. He was coordinator of the OpenKnowledge project (www.openk.org) and was a principal investigator on the Advanced Knowledge Technologies research consortium (www.aktors.org), which were major EU and UK projects in this area. His current work (on the SociaM EPSRC Programme, Smart Societies European IP and SocialIST coordinating action) is developing these ideas for social computation. His earlier work was primarily on program synthesis and on the high level specification of programs, where he built some of the earliest systems for automating the construction of large programs from domain-specific requirements. He has contributed to the methodology of the field by developing the use of "lightweight" formal methods - traditional formal methods made much simpler to use in an engineering context by tailoring them to a specific type of task. As an undergraduate he trained as a biologist and continues to prefer bio-medical applications of his research, although methods from his group have also been applied to other areas such as astronomy, healthcare, simulation of consumer behaviour and emergency response.
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