Science Question Time: Why and how to make data-driven applications greener


Holger Pirk presenting

Imperial researcher shares the importance of making new and existing data-driven applications greener at Science Question Time

Science Question Time is a yearly event for secondary school students, families and members of the public to explore the role of creativity in science. This year, the event hosted by Collider Science and Kings College School Wimbledon, focussed on how developments in data science, artificial intelligence, ageing research and genomics can provide solutions for both human and planetary health with the theme of ‘living greener living longer’.

Five panel members formed of researchers, professors and innovators in artificial intelligence, genomics, health and environment were invited to present on their chosen topics. The panel was chaired by Dr John Collins who opened up an audience discussion and invited questions to be debated using the ‘Question Time’ format.

One of the expert panel members was Holger Pirk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London, and member of the Large-Scale Data and Systems Group. Holger spoke about techniques he and his research group at Imperial have developed and how they help to make data-driven apps and gadgets greener longer-lasting.

Why is it important for gadgets to be greener?

Humans rely on ‘gadgets’ for lots of things – they allow us to video-chat with anyone on the planet whenever we want, get live updates for football matches or find the closest coffee shop that makes oat-milk latte. However, by continuing to update and add new features to their products companies make us want to buy the newest model of their phones, tablets and watches, even if there is nothing wrong with the model we own. This comes at the expense of the environment, but it doesn’t have to be this way. In addition to the technology Holger and his team are developing, each of us can make the decision to put the environment first – do we want to look cool today by buying a new smart watch every year or do we want to have a planet to live on in 50 years?

Listen to Holger’s presentation here.

Previous speakers at Science Question Time events from Imperial have included Professor Julie McCann, Professor Mary Ryan, Professor Maja Pantic, Dr Jess Wade and Professor Simon Schultz.

Want to get involved in future Departmental outreach events? Contact Jackie Bell, Outreach Coordinator, Department of Computing.


Mr Ahmed Idle

Mr Ahmed Idle
Department of Computing