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March 2015

Postcard from Turkey: Ryerson graduate student proposes a model for environmental sustainability in ICT

Computer software is easy to take for granted: just buy a new program or operating system and install it! But this convenience is proving to be damaging to the planet and one part of the problem is planned obsolescence—that is, replacing older products with new, improved versions. In response, regulators are pressuring the software industry to “go green” and I am studying how to help ease that transition.

I am a PhD candidate in the Environmental Applied Science and Management program at Ryerson University. I am interested in approaches that will help software developers design products that meet customers' needs, require less energy to produce, are longer lasting, and can be safely and responsibly disposed. I am studying the interrelationships between product quality and sustainability and I’m enthusiastic about finding and removing their boundaries so that software developers aren't afraid to be more sustainable.

It’s this enthusiasm that prompted me to apply to a Mitacs Globalink Research Award. I learned about the Award through my supervisor, who supported me through the application process and connected me with colleagues in Turkey. The application was very easy, and both Mitacs staff and Ryerson International staff were very helpful. 

To advance my research, I spent three months last summer in Turkey, working under the supervision of Professor Gulfem Isiklar Alptekin, a computer science professor at the Centre for Research in Decision Analysis (CRDA). My project was based at Galatasaray University (GU) in Istanbul and represented the first collaboration between the research groups in Canada and Turkey.

The research experience at GU was a chance for me to familiarize myself with the facilities, knowledge-gaining opportunities, and international research scenarios at different universities. In addition to meeting with local companies in the information and communications sector, I accessed the CRDA's data repository and tested analytical models. After the project concluded, I presented my team's preliminary work at a Requirement Engineering for Sustainable Systems workshop in Sweden.

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario for their support of the  Globalink Research Award program in this story. Across Canada, the Globalink program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia,  the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support this award, including Campus France and Inria, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.

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