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ECE 6960: Sustainable Computing (Spring 2024)


This graduate level course provides an overview of the holistic environmental impact of computing platforms over the course of their lifetime. Topics include life cycle analyses of computing devices, carbon footprint of computing, computer architecture and systems, renewable energy driven data centers, intermittent computing, sustainable applications (e.g., AI), and emerging technologies. We will understand how to evaluate and consider the holistic environmental impact of computing platforms including carbon, water, e-waste, and materials used. Through reading, analyzing, and discussing papers, and an open-ended project students will develop a holistic understanding of the environmental impact of computing and designing sustainable platforms.


Course Staff

Udit Gupta


Date Day Topic Due Link
Jan 23 Tu Introduction to Sustainable Computing    
Jan 25 Th Trends in computer architecture    
Jan 30 Tu Mobile SoC    
Feb 1 Th Datacenter architecture I   [Synthesis Lecture]
Feb 6 Tu Datacenter architecture II   [Synthesis Lecture]
Feb 8 Th Energy systems    
Feb 13 Tu Life cycle analysis of computer architecture   [Chasing Carbon]
Feb 15 Th Models for assessing carbon footprint of IC’s   [ACT]
Feb 20 Tu Models for assessing carbon footprint of IC’s   [ACT]
Feb 22 Th Guest lecture: Vikram Iyer (University of Washington)   [Delta LCA] [Recyclable PCB]
Feb 27 Tu No class!    
Feb 29 Th Student presentations Project proposals  
Mar 5 Tu Guest lecture: Josiah Hester (Georgia Tech)   [Intermittent, batteryless sensors] [Battery free gameboy]
Mar 7 Th No class!    
Mar 12 Tu Metrics of sustainability   [Promise & Pitalls of Embodied Carbon] [Metrics of Sustainability in DCs]
Mar 14 Th Data center: renewable energy workload shifting   [Carbon Explorer] [Parasol&GreenSwitch]
Mar 19 Tu Data center: integration with power grid   [Flex] [Adaptive DC Capacity]
Mar 21 Th Data center: power capping   [Resource Central] [Dynamo]
Mar 26 Tu Guest lecture Andrew Chien (UChicago, Argonne National Lab)   [Coming Soon]
Mar 28 Th Reusing and recycling mobile devices   [Junkyard computing] [Decomissioning]
Apr 2 Tu No class! (Spring break)    
Apr 4 Th No class! (Spring break)    
Apr 9 Tu Sustainable AI: Day 1   [Carbon emissions AI training] [Power Hungry Processing]
Apr 11 Th Sustainable AI: Day 2 & Guest Q&A: Carole-Jean Wu (Meta), Sustainable AI   [Sustainable AI] [Towards Carbon Modeling & Optimization of Inference]
Apr 16 Tu No class!    
Apr 18 Tu Memory   [Pond] [Carbon-Aware Memory Placement]
Apr 23 Tu Storage   [Embodied Carbon SSD] [Myths and Misconceptions]
Apr 25 Th Anthropology of sustainability and computing   [Cloud is Material] [Realistic claims of benefits of GHG emissions] [IoT backcasting]
Apr 30 Tu Technology trends (3D integration)   [3D-Carbon] [Supply Chain Aware]
May 2 Th Technology trends (chiplets)   [ECO-Chip] [Chiplet Cloud]
May 7 Tu Final project presentations Final papers  

Guest speakers

  Guest speaker
Vikram Iyer (University of Washington) is an Assistant Professor in the in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering and co-director of the CS for Environment Initiative. His work takes an interdisciplinary approach to connect ideas between different engineering domains and biology to build end-to-end wireless systems that push the boundaries of technology with particular focus on size, weight, and power.
Josiah Hester (Georgia Tech) is the Allchin Chair, and Associate Professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. He designs and deploys tiny computers that last for decades, supporting applications in sustainability, healthcare, interactive devices, and education
Carole-Jean Wu (Meta) is a Director of AI Research at Meta. She is a founding member and a Vice President of MLCommons. Prior to Meta/Facebook, Dr. Wu was a professor at ASU. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and a B.Sc. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University
Andrew Chien (University of Chicago, Argonne National Lab) is the William Eckhardt Distinguished Service Professor in Computer Science, Director of the CERES Center for Unstoppable Computing, as well as Senior Computer Scientist at the Argonne National Laboratory. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the NSF’s Computing and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, as a member of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Study Group
Stay tuned for more exciting speakers!