Computing within Limits Workshop to co-locate with ICT4S

We’re delighted to announce that ACM Limits – the Fourth International Workshop on Computing within Limits will co-locate with ICT4S in Toronto in May 2018. The workshop will be held on the downtown (St George) campus of the University of Toronto on Sunday 13th May to Monday 14th May, followed immediately by the main ICT4S conference on May 15-17th.

ACM LIMITS aims to foster research on the impact of present or future ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits on computing and computing research to respond to such limits. The medium-term aim of the workshop is to foster concrete research, potentially of an interdisciplinary nature, that innovates on technologies, techniques, and contexts for computing within fundamental limits. A longer-term goal is to build a community around relevant topics and research. A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity.

The ACM Limits workshop accepts two broad categories of papers: “discussion papers” and “systems papers” (see below). Submissions do not need to strictly fit into either category. All papers should succinctly frame the limits that are of interest to the author(s).

Discussion papers explore the nature of limits and computing. Good discussion contributions will detail the nature of the limits of interest, describe their impact on computing, and present directions for future research. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Sustainability and computing
  • Re-evaluation of conventional computing premises (e.g. Moore’s law)
  • Discussion of new limits and their implications for computing
  • Analysis of unnecessary computing
  • Analysis of greenwashing in computing
  • Ecological economics and/or biophysical economics and computing
  • Implications of limits for computing systems for health, education, agriculture, transportation, entertainment, commerce, etc.

Systems papers describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of computing systems that work within or help cope with limits. Also of interest are evaluations of systems that fail due to limits. Good systems contributions will address problems that meet present or future societal needs, describe clear limits and operational boundaries, and provide a detailed evaluation of the system in question. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Material- and manufacturing-constrained computing devices
  • Energy- and material-efficient computing and communication
  • Wide-area communication under constraints
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design under constraints
  • Evaluation of limits to modern computing systems
  • Life-cycle analysis of computing systems under limits
  • Computer architecture for constrained computing
  • Systems for health, education, agriculture, transportation, entertainment, commerce, etc. under limits


Abstract registration deadline: Feb 2, 2018, 11:59pm Pacific Time
Paper submission deadline: Feb 9, 2018, 11:59pm Pacific Time
Paper reviews available: March 7, 2018


Papers must be registered, with a title and abstract, by Feb 2, 2018 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Papers must be submitted in PDF format by Feb 9, 2018, 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Papers should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Papers should be in ACM double-column format, using the most recent template (updated in 2017)
  • The main body text should use 9pt Times or Times New Roman font.
  • The body of the paper should be a minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 9 pages, with an unlimited number of pages allowed for references.

Reviewing will be non-blind; authors should include their names and contact information.

For further details, please refer to the ACM Limits Workshop website at

Summer school 2017: Patricia Lago on Designing Software with a Sustainability Intent

The summer school in Leiden went great. Over the next few weeks, we will share the slides on the news here so you get an idea of what the lecture contents were. On the research conducted during the week in Leiden, we will also report, but probably more right at the conference next year.

This talk was given by Patricia Lago, introducing her Software Sustainability Assessment (SoSA) Method.

Summer school about to begin

Tomorrow starts the ICT4S summer school at the Lorentz Center in Leiden, Netherlands. We have the following talks lined up:

  • Climate Change and Energy: the role of ICT in the transition to a post-carbon society (Steve Easterbrook)
  • Requirements for Sustainability: Imagining the sustainable society (Birgit Penzenstadler)
  • Smart Sustainable Cities (Mattias Höjer)
  • The enablement potential of ICT (Vlad Coroama)
  • Designing Software with a Sustainable Intent (Patricia Lago)
  • Systems Thinking: Modeling the dynamics of ICT and sustainability (Lorenz Hilty)
  • Lifecycle Assessment: Measuring benefits and impacts &
    The social and environmental footprint of the internet (Daniel Schien)
  • Green living: Sustainable buildings, transport and food (Sam Mann)
  • Abundance: how we harness ICT’s capacity to shape behavior and action (Maria Angela Ferrario)
  • Limits: Social resilience and the re-invention of social institutions (Daniel Pargman)

We look forward to a great week with exciting talks and ample opportunity for collaboration and paper writing. The slides of the lectures will be made available in the next news article on this page.

Why attend ICT4S?

The ICT4S conferences bring together leading researchers in ICT for Sustainability with government and industry representatives, including decision-makers with an interest in using ICT for sustainability, researchers focusing on ICT effects on sustainability and developers of sustainable ICT systems or applications. The conferences feature an innovative format for presenting new research, focussing on participation and conversation rather than passive listening. After four successful annual conferences in Europe, the series comes to North America for the first time, in Toronto in May 2018.

The goals of the conference are to foster critical and constructive discussion of new research results, and to bring diverse stakeholders together to identify and respond to grand challenges in the interplay between sustainability and digital technologies. The conference will feature roundtable discussions of new research, demos of new technologies, and poster presentations of late-breaking research results, along with inspiring keynote speakers and moderated challenge sessions for participants to explore and respond to big challenge questions about the role of technology in creating thriving, sustainable communities.

Opportunities for participation

We expect to attract an international group of 150-200 researchers, students, technology specialists and decision-makers. The conference represents an opportunity to meet the leaders of tomorrow, as many graduate students engaged in ICT4S research come to the conference to present their work.

For companies: We invite you to come to ICT4S to showcase new and emerging technologies for sustainability, and/or to present challenge problems for the international community of researchers. The presentation setting is relatively informal, with a focus on interactions on technical and strategic issues, and the creation of new partnerships.

For government and public sector: We invite you to bring case studies and challenge problems to the conference, as examples of the dilemmas faced by decision-makers at all levels of government as society grapples with the challenge of creating sustainable communities while tackling global issues such as climate change, social equity, and human well-being. We will organise structured and moderated discussion sessions to allow the participants to explore the context for these dilemmas, and develop ideas for innovative solutions.

For researchers: We invite you to submit papers reporting on research, development, case studies and experience reports to the conference for peer-review. Accepted papers and abstracts will appear in a fully indexed, open access conference proceedings, and authors will be invited to present their work at the conference either at one of our round-table discussion sessions (“conver-stations”) or as a poster. This year we are also introducing a new “Journals First” track, allowing authors to submit abstracts of recently published papers in journals related to ICT4S, for presentation at the conference.

For everyone: Come to the conference to network with other participants, and discuss new ideas and new challenges in ICT & sustainability!

Opportunities for Sponsorship

We welcome offers to sponsor the conference. Sponsors will have their names and logos displayed prominently on all conference publicity materials, including the conference website, signage at the conference, the conference proceedings, and on social media. Sponsorship also includes access to the full conference for members of your organization. If you want to sponsor a specific aspect of the conference (e.g. an evening reception, the conference banquet, a refreshment break, etc) please contact the conference general chair, Prof Steve Easterbrook.

Keynote speakers introduced: Prof. Bill Rees

Dr. William Rees is a human ecologist, ecological economist, former Director and Professor Emeritus of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.  His research focuses on the ecological requirements for sustainable development and on the behavioural and socio-cultural barriers to change. Best known as the originator of ‘ecological footprint analysis’, Prof Rees has authored over 160 peer-reviewed and numerous popular articles on sustainability (or lack thereof).  He is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the One Earth Initiative; and a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute. In 2006 Prof Rees was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and named as one of BC’s top public intellectuals by the Vancouver Sun.  Rees was awarded both the Boulding Prize in Ecological Economics and a Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Dr Mathis Wackernagel) in 2012 and also received an Honorary Doctorate from Laval University that year.  In 2014, Dr Rees was elected a full member of the Club of Rome; in 2015 he received the Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics and, in 2016, was awarded a Dean’s Medal of Distinction (UBC Faculty of Applied Science).