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MSc Programme ``Computing Science" 2012-2013

Computational Sustainability (MCS)


Seminar overview

Computational sustainability deals with the computational models and techniques that can help reduce the use of (scarce) natural resources, in all domains of activity where economic and environmental factors meet. It is a new branch of computer science, highly intertwined with other fields and full of diverse developments that are gradually revealing the novel dimensions of the field.

The AAAI-13 conference distinguishes the following subareas in computational sustainability: natural resources and the environment, economics and human behavior, energy resources, human built systems and land use, and climate. In all cases, research concerns complex questions of modeling activities and ways of planning and decision making such that the use of natural resources and/or waste production are minimized.

In the seminar we will not deal with the political or policy issues in the domain of `sustainability', but focus entirely on (a selection of) the computational modelings and combinatorial optimization techniques that are developing in the field. Here, computer science and computational thinking make the difference.

The seminar will specifically focus on energy and ICT. We study algorithms and ICT for smart energy use, as well as energy reduction in ICT. The topics include the following:

Class schedule


Students are required to have a good background in algorithmics, at the level of the MSc program Computing Science (also Technical AI or GMT). The seminar will require a good understanding of algorithmic modelling and optimization methods such as LP.

The seminar is part of the MSc program `Computing Science' and is to be taken after you have completed at least several of the regular courses in the program. If you have not, see the MSc-program advisor: you may not be admissable to this seminar yet.

Note. If there is considerable interest for the seminar, students may be grouped in two for the presentations part of the seminar requirement. Due to the seminar format, the total number of participants is limited to 20.


The seminar is based on recent literature. The papers for study and presentation will be listed in the weekly schedule.

Additional material will be listed in the weekschedule as the seminar develops.

Course Work


The grade depends on the given presentations/respondings (50%), term papers (40%) and active participation (10%).

Recommended for further interest

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Last modified: July, 2013