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Technology Can Beat Nature

I’m currently an upper junior in City Tech, majoring in Computer Science. I believe that my major can relate to climate change in many ways. One of those ways is that technology can be used to reduce the impacts of climate change. The author Bimba Shrestha tells us four ways computer scientists can change the fight against climate change. She mentions a group called Duke Energy Initiative directed by Kyle Bradbury. They work with computer scientists on data analytics and develop systems that learn with time. Bradbury believes there is a considerable amount of work in energy software that is needed before  saving the earth.

One way Shrestha states computer science can help is by developing software for the public education of energy consumption. She introduces us to Dr. Ramesh Shankar, an energy researcher at EPIC. This organization is mainly focused on modernizing the grid. Shankar believes that software that informs the public could be the biggest opportunity for computer science. I believe Dr. Shankar is right, giving the consumer a software that shows them their daily consumption of energy, and shows them how it would affect the world, it can help and guide the consumer to a cleaner way of using energy. Some ideas Dr. Shankar suggested were creating an app for what the greenhouse gas emission impact is on a daily basis divided by county, state, and nation. Another idea was an app that shows the impact of each person if they use less energy or use new renewable energy.

Another way is by developing more complex decision making and predictive software using machine learning. Predictive and Decision making software is designed to identify trends in data to help make decisions. Director Bradbury of Duke Energy states that creating the perfect predictive software is impossible, that we can’t account for all the variables on a grid. The perfect software would be a software that can learn by itself. He believes that to help machines learn, researchers and engineers would need more use of energy data, better performance, and more visualization software.

The third way is to help develop more customized software for collaborative research. An engineer at Hoffman Buildings Technologies named Bryan Lampley believes that the fate of the energy sector depends on working together with other scientists and sharing data. Because if that doesn’t happen then progress would be really slow. Bradbury also believes that climate modeling is very complex and requires a large amount of data to understand climate change.

The last way is that we can help cybersecurity in large company networks. Lampley believes that we lack in cybersecurity and that hacking is too great of a risk. He states that someone can easily shut off all power of an energy company and also access private sensor data. Keith Dickerson, a manager of a smart infrastructure at Schneider Electric agrees that security is highly needed on networks and believes that we need more computer scientists working on cybersecurity.


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