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Sustainability: Loïc Lannelongue highlights carbon footprint of computational work

27 January 2023 Students

Clare Hall member Dr Loïc Lannelongue, who recently completed a PhD in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, is part of a group of scientists demonstrating the hidden environmental cost behind some of our major research breakthroughs.

As a University of Cambridge article explains, at the start of 2020, computational biologist Dr Lannelongue was in the middle of his PhD, using machine learning to predict how proteins interact in the human body. He read about a study that equated training artificial intelligence (AI) to the carbon footprint of five cars over their lifetimes, and began to wonder what the impact of his own work was. Together with collaborator Jason Grealey and supervisor Professor Michael Inouye, he decided to work it out, expecting to find an online calculator that they could just plug their numbers into.

The pair soon realised there was a significant gap, and that ‘computational scientists weren’t really thinking about their carbon footprint yet’. Since then, they have developed Green Algorithms – a simple online calculator that allows researchers to work out the carbon footprint of their computing work.

Read about the project, and discover 10 simple rules to make your computing more environmentally sustainable, via the University’s story:

On his time at Clare Hall, Loïc comments:

I spent a brilliant four years as a PhD student in Clare Hall. The informal atmosphere and friendly relationships between students and Fellows encouraged stimulating discussions on many occasions. I have fond memories of organising Fellow-student interaction events to keep these ties tight during the pandemic.
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