Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Green ICT in the Mauritius Declaration on Digitalisation and Sustainable Tourism

The "Mauritius Declaration on Digitalisation and Sustainable Tourism", adopted last week, includes a section on "Green ICT".
"7. to consider the rigorous application of “Green ICT” techniques to ensure minimal environmental impact being given that a connected world together managing the resulting data will in itself impose an environmental load;"
Nations are welcome to make use of my "ICT Sustainability" course materials. I would be delighted to have an excuse to visit tropical islands to discuss it. ;-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Green Climate Fund for Development

Greetings from the Australian national University in Canberra, where Howard Bamsey, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund is speaking on "The Green Climate Fund, climate finance, and the imperatives and pathways for global transformation". He started by pointing out the developed nations committed to "mobilize" $100B a year for developing nations actions on climate change by 2020. What "mobilize" means I am not sure. The DFAT "Roadmap to US$100 Billion" (2016) says "effectively mobilize private finance".
reetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where

Ambassador Bamsey pointed out that the cost of PV solar power had dropped making it economic for use in developing nations. Also he pointed out that green bonds had taken off and the link to Islamic Finance. In 2008 I attended the Malaysian Corporate Governance Conference at the Securities Commission, Kuala Lumpur, the regulator for Islamic capital markets in Malaysia and noticed this link.

The IEA has a "Tracking Clean Energy Progress" page, which Ambassador Bamsey pointed to. He used the example of technology incubators as one initiative (but I am not sure who's or for what). He suggested that most investments are on mitigation and more is needed on adaption for the most vulnerable.

Ambassador Bamsey suggested that China has taken an engineering approach to climate change as the government is full of engineers (whereas the Australian Government is full of lawyers and economists).

This all seemed very general, so I asked for examples of investments and how much carbon emission, or other benefits resulted. This was perhaps because I spent the morning marking ICT Sustainability assignments from my students, where they had to say what improvement their proposals were expected to make.

Unfortunately while promising to get specific, Ambassador Bamsey would not say how much the Green Climate Fund had invested or how much mitigation and adaption this was expected to produce. Not everything can be reduced to a few numbers, but if the world is investing $100B a year, then it would be good to have some idea it was effectively spent. Also worrying is that fund is expected to run out money to invest by the end of the year. Interestingly the ACT Government is working on channeling private investment to the fund, however as a potential investor I would want to know what environmental and social return on investment I will get.

The current Ambassador for the Environment, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Patrick Suckling, spoke next. He pointed to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as a successful investment activity.  Ambassador Suckling then talked about having an investment bank rather than aid. I assume this was a metaphor, not the Australian government was going to have a bank to invest in development programs in the region and earn a return on investment.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Father of the Internet in Canberra

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, will speak on "The future of the Internet" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 26 June 2018. For an understanding of the way the Internet was envisioned, I recommend Carl Malamud's 1992 book "Exploring the Internet: A Technical Travelogue", in which he reports on discussion with Vint Cerf and Australian Internet pioneer Geoff Huston.

I stumbled across Vint and Geoff in Stockholm during the Internet Society 2001 Conference. I went through the wrong door and interrupted a meeting deciding global domain name services. Geoff looked up and said "Hi Tom", when I saw Vint and just about everyone else running the Internet in the world, I turned and fled. ;-)
"Vint Cerf will explore areas where serious technical and policy efforts are needed to reinforce the utility of the Internet and diminish some of the harmful behaviors we are seeing. Some of the work will require transnational cooperation. Some solutions have much to do with educating users about protecting themselves when online and thinking critically about content. Technical improvements in software production will help, as will better security tools and practices. Vint will finish up with some speculations about the arc of the Internet as we get to the mid-2000s.
Vint will be coming to Australia as a featured speaker at the ANU Crawford Leadership Forum, 24-26 June 2018."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

How one computer salesman contributed to the digital revolution

Last night I sat down next to someone who looked familiar at a university talk. This being a university, they turned out to have a PhD, be an author of a book and pioneer in the computer industry. Dr Christopher B. Yardley, is author of "ALSO INNOVATORS: How one computer salesman contributed to the digital revolution" (2016). The full text is available free online from ANU Press. The technology mentioned will sound like ancient history to computer professionals today. But the problems of introducing new technology are still current.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Making Canberra a Mobile Place

Dickson LibraryGreetings from the Canberra Wine House, where I am taking part in the "Ideas and Actions for Dickson: Community Workshop". This is hosted by a team of planners contracted to the ACT Government. I booked for this event, thinking it was about master-planning for the Dickson shopping center and surround, as it is developed in conjunction with the new light rail and bus hub. However,  it was instead about how to get more sense  of community in the area.

In the late 1990s I chaired the Dickson Precinct Community Group, to provide advice to the ACT Government on planning the area. The Draft Master Plan, and Community Consultation and Cultural Profile Report from 1998, may be of interest.I was a little disappointed that the 2018 activity did not seem as organized as that twenty years ago.

We were asked to come up with ideas which could be implemented relatively quickly. My serious one was to issue planter boxes to the local primary schools and kindergartens and then place these around the library. A less serious one was an "uber-park": build a shallow planter box on Eclipse Engineering's Container Roll-Out Warehousing System (CROWS™), and stack these in a shipping container to create a relocatable pocket park.

The container would be transported by truck to a location, the pallets slid out and arranged to form a grassed area. The empty container would then be used as a kiosk. I was surprised when one of the other participants also suggested a relocatable "pop-up" park, so perhaps it is not such a silly idea.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Data Driving the Smart City in Canberra

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Future of the Web: Data drives the Smart City, just started. This is in conjunction with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This will be repeated Thursday 10 May in Sydney. I consider the "Smart City" to be like the smart home: mostly marketing hype. It will be interesting to see if today's speakers can change my view.

The first speaker was Dr Ole Nielsen, Deputy Chief Digital Officer and Director of Digital Transformation, ACT Government. I asked Dr Nielsen if the ACT Government was securing system sufficiently against cyber attack. He replied that data should not be stored on drives connected to people's email and data stored in the basement of offices is no more secure than on Amazon Web Services.

9.35am Industry Keynote  Dr Mukesh Mohania (IBM Distinguished Engineer in IBM Research)


 Ubiquitous sensing, located Dr Kerry Taylor (Chair, W3C Spatial Data on the Web)
 10.35am  Break
 10.50am  Smart Grid Dr Lachlan Blackhall (Head of the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, ANU)
Dr Armin Haller (W3C Office Manager, ANU)
 11.30am Power to the People:
Privacy in the smart city

(in Melbourne) Dr David Hyland-Wood (Blockchain Protocol Architect, Consensys)
(in Canberra) Dr Peter Christen (Professor, Data Mining and Matching, ANU)
(in Sydney) Christine Cowper (Principal Consultant, Information Integrity Solutions)
12.00pm Panel:
“How do we best enable smart cities?”
round-up of W3C activities and value proposition
capacity building – what skills do we need?
what issues should we consider? How do we solve them?
Discussion with all earlier speakers

chaired by  J. Alan Bird (W3C Global Business Development Lead)
All above speakers as participants
Interactive audience