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‘The Growth of Internet Services and Energy Demand – Is there a Limit’

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Over the last decade, the growth in data traffic across the Internet has been dramatic, and forecasts predict a similar ongoing pattern. Since this is associated with increasing electricity consumption, such a trend is significant to global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. This research selectively explores aspects of data growth that are linked to everyday practices and the way they draw upon and generate Internet data, in order to identify both the conceivable limits to internet data growth, and the ways in which the nature of ‘Internet use’ is changing. This calls for careful attention to the nature of the trends involved, as a basis for intentionally building limits into this system before levels of Internet electricity demand becomes directly and more explicitly problematic.

Dr Mike Hazas is a Senior Lecturer in Computing and Communications at Lancaster University, with expertise in engineering, computer science, sociology and mobile computing. His multidisciplinary research is concerned with everyday practices and technologies, and how they can be related to sustainability and energy demand. He is a member of the DEMAND Centre, an EPSRC project (2013-2018) to study the relationship of end user practices to energy demand, to understand the dynamics of demand, and hence to guide future reconfiguration of infrastructures, buildings and transport systems in line with greenhouse gas emissions targets.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery (C2D3) series.

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