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Computer science student group examines sustainable energy saving techniques

A group of New Mexico State University computer science student researchers will compile a list of energy saving solutions by examining and analyzing data about the energy consumption of electronic devices used by students this fall semester.



New Mexico State University computer science doctoral student Abdulla Alqaddoumi, at center, points out a feature on his cell phone that aids in saving energy. Fellow computer science doctoral students Hadi Sharifi, at left, and Amjad Nusayr look on. (NMSU Photo by Daniella De Luca)

The Computer Science Graduate Students Organization at NMSU, led by president Hadi Sharifi, will create posters and literature for the campus and surrounding school districts outlining ways people can live a more sustainable lifestyle by performing simple tasks to prevent energy waste.

Sharifi, a computer science doctoral student, said the research team will conduct surveys on campus beginning in the fall 2009 semester to get a sampling of how the NMSU community is using and charging their electronic devices, in particular cell phones and laptops.

While the surveys have not been done, the group does have some predictions on what some of the biggest energy consumers for the cell phone user surveys will be: animated backgrounds, playing music files, leaving the phone on when not in use and improper charging techniques.

"We would like to educate others on energy saving techniques so they can customize their settings to use the least amount of energy while still getting the maximum quality service from their product," Sharifi said.

The group has made many similar predictions for results from the laptop-user surveys including using the computer when it is plugged into the electrical charger.

"While you're charging anything (whether a cell phone or laptop) you shouldn't use it during charging because it shortens your battery life," Sharifi said.

Once the group's findings are assembled, they will disseminate the information campus and communitywide, and to cell phone and laptop manufacturers.

"We are hoping to educate others. If they know how much energy they are wasting, they might find it more acceptable to use other techniques to save energy," he said.

"The department of computer science recognizes the importance of developing and assessing new knowledge with relevance to the roles of energy and sustainability and has many other projects for the Year of Sustainability at NMSU," said computer science department head Enrico Pontelli. Two other projects include studying the best energy saving practices within the department's computer network and also using sensor networks to more efficiently manage temperatures in the department offices.