understanding of human behavior, and perhaps in identifing interventions that can have an impact on energy use. Even a modest advance such as analysis based on the segmentation of a building’s energy use among HVAC, lighting, and plug load could yield useful results. Although this may seem like a pure sensing problem, the process of deploying sensors, labeling data, and interpreting the results involves people, and computer science researchers are at the forefront of some of the innovations in this area.30 Despite these advances, the problem of labeling data and interpreting the results is one that requires more attention.
This chapter provides examples of important technical research areas and outlines a broad research agenda for computer science and sustainability. Although there are numerous opportunities to apply wellunderstood technologies and techniques to sustainability, there are also hard problems—such as mitigating climate change—for which current methods offer at-best partial solutions, and rapid innovation is essential in light of the pressing nature of the challenges. The areas highlighted in this chapter—measurement and instrumentation; information-intensive systems; analysis, modeling, and simulation; optimization; and humancentered systems—are counterparts to well-established research areas in computer science. This overlap has clear positive implications. However, finding a way to have a significant impact may require new approaches to these problems and almost certainly new ways of conducting and managing research. Chapter 3 explores ways of conducting and managing research so that computer science research can have an even greater impact on sustainability challenges.
30For example, Patel and others have developed comparatively lightweight methods to acquire reasonably fine-grained data in homes; see J. Froehlich, E. Larson, S. Gupta, G. Cohn, M. Reynolds, and S.N. Patel, Disaggregated end-use energy sensing for the smart grid, IEEE Pervasive Computing, Special Issue on Smart Energy Systems, January-March (2011).