You are here

  1. Home
  2. Sustainable software engineering

Sustainable software engineering

Scientific consensus clearly tells us that climate change is occurring. Subsequently, there is an urgent necessity to decarbonise our ways of living and working. Whilst computing technologies have been used, and continue to be used to understand climate science, the use of computing and IT technologies requires energy in a number of different ways: their use, their design, their construction, and their disposal.

Sustainable computing, or green computing, is an emerging topic within computing which concerns how the environmental impact of computing and computing devices can be either minimised or mitigated.

PhD project proposals are invited that address any one of the following areas: development of methodologies and approaches to understand the systemic carbon cost of software development and deployment; studying of practices of software engineers tasked with the development and design of low energy software computing devices; understanding and evaluating FinOps and how it relates to DevOps practices; understanding and evaluating attitudes to green computing and IT, and examining the extent of change within industrial environments.

Other research proposals that also consider the subject of sustainability, computing or software engineering are also encouraged. If you are unsure as to whether your project is appropriate, please contact either of the potential supervisors, whose names are mentioned below.

During the research, you may be required to carry out empirical research, which might mean working with third party organisations to gain first hand understand of organisations or software engineering practices.

Skills Required

Although you may have a first degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering, this project may be suitable for candidates who have a background in environmental studies, or the social sciences. You may have also completed a postgraduate conversion degree in Computing or a closely related subject, such as systems thinking. Ideally, you should be familiar with, or be able to become familiar with current software engineering practices.

You should have an understanding and appreciation of quantitative and qualitative social science research methods. You should also be willing to study topics that are outside of your discipline.

Background Reading

Currie, A., Hsu, S. & Bergman, S. (2024) Building Green Software. O’Reilly Media Inc.

Lago, P. et al. (2021). Designing for Sustainability: Lessons Learned from Four Industrial Projects. In: Kamilaris, A., Wohlgemuth, V., Karatzas, K., Athanasiadis, I.N. (eds) Advances and New Trends in Environmental Informatics. Progress in IS. Springer, Cham.

Manotas, I. et al. (2018) An Empirical Study of Practitioners' Perspectives on Green Software Engineering. 2016 IEEE/ACM 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). 14-22 May 2016.

Verdecchia, R. et al. (2021)  Green IT and Green Software, IEEE software, 2021, Vol.38 (6), p.7-15.

Wolfram, N. et al. (2018) Sustainability in software engineering. 2017 Sustainable Internet and ICT for Sustainability (SustainIT). 06-07 December 2017.



For more information about this project, please contact: Dr Chris Douce or Professor Arosha Bandara

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome