Eco-Efficient Software Engineering

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What We Do

H ave you ever spend a thought on what a single search on google costs in terms of energy and CO2 emissions? Or, what about the energy consumption of the last blockbuster you have seen via your favourite VoD service or the CO2 emissions caused by uploading your new holiday photos on facebook?

Even though people consume services most of them are not aware of the actual cost regarding energy and environmental impact. In 2012 the Information and Communications technology sector was consuming more than 930 TWh of energy and is predicted to grow drastically in the next decade. This number is almost equivalent to the total energy consumption of Germany and France. Furthermore, the CO2 emissions caused by ICT is estimated to be almost equivalent to the ones of the aviation sector.

This development was acknowledged by many, several years back. The European Commission for example have funded numerous projects developing new approaches to counteract this trend. Companies developed new, more energy efficient technologies. For instance, while a few years back the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC) in a data centre was often consuming more energy than the severs, new technologies enable to have HVAC systems which consume only a fraction of what severs are accounted for today.

Even though all of these approaches lead to a significant decrease in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, the potential is far from being fully leveraged. Software being the indirect cause of energy consumption and CO2 emissions offer many chances for optimization.

W e dedicate our research to find new approaches that enable the development of energy- and eco-efficient software. More specifically we focus on finding solutions that set eco-efficiency as a quality attribute of software already in the specification phase. For this purpose we have created the notion of green specifications. Green specifications shall raise the awareness of all parties involved in the specification process to ecological concerns and thus shall enable them to make well informed choices. In addition green specifications shall guide and restrict the developer in his choice of actions. Last, green specifications shall provide a way for specifying service level agreements (SLAs) on a fine level of granularity maximizing the optimization potential. In order to achieve these goals we:

  • Create a formal definition of green specifications
  • Specify a meta-model that facilitates the use of green specifications
  • Implement a video on demand (VoD) service as a showcase
  • Add support for green specification in MS Visio
  • Evaluate the effect and potential of green specifications
In addition to the ecological benefit that this approach will facilitate, it offers significant monetary gains and thus competitive advantages. On the one hand it facilitates the early integration of energy and eco-costs which reduces the risk of high follow up costs due to changes later in the development cycle. On the other hand the cost of operating the software will potentially be lower due to lower energy consumption and higher flexibilities.

"Making your
software eco-efficient
with green
specifications"

News

Latest Information

Visio goes GREEN

We are happy to announce that we have finished the first set of Visio templates for easily creating green specifications. We support each of the three views used in green specifications - the structural, functional, and the behavioural view. For the structural view, eco-efficiency and SLA compartments were added to the class stencil. Functional specifications can now also be written in tabular format using Visio. The table already contains all standard compartments used in green specifications, including SLA and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the standard state-chart diagram was enhanced to include probabilities both within and at the transitions of each state.

Once installed, the templates can easily be used by creating a new document and choose one of the three views within the "NEW" dialogue.

In order to be able to use our templates you have to have a licensed version of Microsoft Visio 2013. If you do not have MS Visio yet, you can also get a free trail version here. The templates can be downloaded in our download section .

Green Specifications - A Book Chapter

We are glad to announce that the Book entitled, "Green Services Engineering, Optimization, and Modeling in the Technological Age" is now available. It includes our chapter "Green Specifications – A Concrete Example": "Green specifications provide a foundation for reducing the environmental impact of computing applications and improving the consumption behavior of users by providing a clear and precise specification of the environmental impact of specific services. They can either be used to specify the actual behavior and environmental impact of existing services or to define the requirements that a to-be-built service must fulfill. Green specifications describe the properties of a service from distinct viewpoints such as a structural viewpoint which describes the data types and external components that the service uses, a functional viewpoint which describes the effects of the service’s operations using pre- and post- conditions and a behavioral viewpoint which describes the externally visible states and transitions exhibited by the service. These are augmented with non-functional information describing the environmental properties of, or constraints on, the service. In this chapter we provide an introduction to green specifications and give a concrete example of their use to specify a Video on Demand (VoD) service."

IGI Global , Green Services Engineering, Optimization, and Modeling in the Technological Age

IEEE Software

The current issue (May/June '14) of the IEEE Software Magazine focuses on green software. Apart from many other interesting aspects, also our notion of green specifications is included:

"Current approaches for reducing the environmental impact of IT are typically generic in nature and rarely take into account the actual functionality offered by services. To develop more powerful, service-specific strategies for reducing the carbon footprint of IT, more complete and widely-understandable specifications of services are needed that describe exactly what a service does, to what level of quality and with what environmental consequences. Such Green Specifications make it possible for more stakeholders involved in the delivery and consumption of IT services to understand their detailed functionality as well as the tradeoffs between Quality-of-Service (QoS) and environmental impact entailed in their use. This not only increases the opportunities for optimizing the delivery of services, it also provides the foundation for new business models to encourage users to make greener consumption choices. In this paper we introduce the concept of Green Specifications, propose an approach for defining them through a small example and discuss how they can help reduce the environmental impact of IT."

IEEE Software , vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 56-63, May-June, 2014

Short News

Video Tutorials soon

We are currently preparing video tutorials to illustrate the installation and use of the green specification templates in MS Visio 2013. The tutorials will be available at the beginning of August. If you are familiar with using templates in Visio you can find our Visio templates here.

Flyer Now Available

Our new flyer is now online and available for download. It summarizes who E2-SE is and what we do. It explains, how green specifications help to reduce energy consumption and with that lower CO2 emissions while offering significant monetary gains

Poster Now Available

Our new poster is now online and available for download. It focuses on the topic of smart cities and how green specifications can help to reduce energy consumption, increase flexibility and at the same time exactly fit the needs of all citizens living in a smart city.

MS Visio Extention

MS Visio 2013 is currently being extended to facilitate a more easy and user friendly way to create green specifications. The first version focuses on making the modelling process more easy and will be available for download at the beginning of next year.

Book Chapter Accepted

Our chapter titled "Green Specifications – A Concrete Example" has been accepter for publication in "IGI Global Research Handbook: Green Services Engineering, Optimization, and Modelling in the Technological Age". The book will be available early 2015.

VoD Prototype

The prototype of a Video on Demand (VoD) service is currently under development. The VoD service will act as a showcase and help to enhance and evaluate the notion of green specifications.

Status

Formal Definition of Green Specifications 85%

Meta-Model Specification 80%

Evaluation 60%

VoD Showcase implementation 89%

MS Visio enhancements 75%

Publications

Read More...

  • Green Specifications – A Concrete Example
    Thomas Schulze, Colin Atkinson, IGI Global Research Handbook “Green Services Engineering, Optimization, and Modelling in the Technological Age”, June 2015
    Abstract "Green specifications provide a foundation for reducing the environmental impact of computing applications and improving the consumption behavior of users by providing a clear and precise specification of the environmental impact of specific services. They can either be used to specify the actual behavior and environmental impact of existing services or to define the requirements that a to-be-built service must fulfill. Green specifications describe the properties of a service from distinct viewpoints such as a structural viewpoint which describes the data types and external components that the service uses, a functional viewpoint which describes the effects of the service’s operations using pre- and post- conditions and a behavioral viewpoint which describes the externally visible states and transitions exhibited by the service. These are augmented with non-functional information describing the environmental properties of, or constraints on, the service. In this chapter we provide an introduction to green specifications and give a concrete example of their use to specify a Video on Demand service (VoD)."
  • Facilitating Greener IT through Green Specifications
    Colin Atkinson, Thomas Schulze, Sonja Klingert, IEEE Software, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 56-63, May-June, 2014
    Abstract "Current approaches for reducing the environmental impact of IT are typically generic in nature and rarely take into account the actual functionality offered by services. To develop more powerful, service-specific strategies for reducing the carbon footprint of IT, more complete and widely-understandable specifications of services are needed that describe exactly what a service does, to what level of quality and with what environmental consequences. Such Green Specifications make it possible for more stakeholders involved in the delivery and consumption of IT services to understand their detailed functionality as well as the tradeoffs between Quality-of-Service (QoS) and environmental impact entailed in their use. This not only increases the opportunities for optimizing the delivery of services, it also provides the foundation for new business models to encourage users to make greener consumption choices. In this paper we introduce the concept of Green Specifications, propose an approach for defining them through a small example and discuss how they can help reduce the environmental impact of IT."
  • Towards Application-Specific Impact Specifications and GreenSLAs
    Colin Atkinson, Thomas Schulze, 2nd International Workshop on Green and Sustainable Software (GREENS 2013), San Francisco, USA, 2013
    Abstract "As the trend towards clouds and the delivery of software applications “as a service” continues, the importance of controlling, and if possible reducing, the environmental impact of the supporting data centers assumes ever more importance. However, increasing efficiency alone will not necessarily have the desired impact if computing service consumption levels grow out of control. Increased efficiency needs to be accompanied by responsible usage, which in turns requires users to be aware of the impact of their computing consumption choices. This paper makes a first step in this direction by proposing some techniques for making statements about the environmental impact of specific applications based on formal, but human readable, specifications of their functionality. It then shows how these techniques can be extended to support the definition of application specific, GreenSLAs (Service Level Agreements) which allow the contract between computing service suppliers and consumers to include constraints on the acceptable environmental impact (e.g. energy usage or CO2 emissions)."
  • Modelling as a Service (MaaS) - Minimizing the Environmental Impact of Computing Services
    Colin Atkinson, Thomas Schulze, Sonja Klingert, The IEEE International Workshop on the Future of Software Engineering FOR and IN the Cloud (FOSEC 2011), Washington D.C., USA, 2011
    Abstract "Given the projected growth in IT over the coming decades it is important that the supply of, and demand for, computing services be made as environmentally friendly as possible. One of the key technologies for achieving this will undoubtedly be cloud computing which opens up many new opportunities for streamlining the way computing services are delivered and used. Several research projects have therefore recently started to examine ways of improving the efficiency of cloud computing infrastructures and of understanding the energy efficiency of computing algorithms. However, to date these have mainly focused on increasing the efficiency of cloud computing services at the relatively low “platform” and “infrastructure” levels of abstraction at which they are typically offered today. In this paper we argue that to maximize the environmental benefits of cloud computing, both from the demand as well as the supply point of view, it is necessary to raise the level of abstraction at which cloud services are delivered and consumed. To this end, we introduce the vision of “Modelling as a Service (MaaS)” and explain how it provides an essential foundation for reducing the environmental impact of computing services."

What Others Say

This [approach] is highly valuable and represents a key step in the definition of environmental sustainability as a quality attribute of software

IEEE Software Review
IEEE Software

This chapter touches an important part of green cloud [computing and] I highly recommend the publication of this chapter.

IGI Global Review
IGI Global

Downloads

Poster: Towards Smarter Cities With Green Specifications

WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Netflix. Everybody knows and uses these services. Software has become part of our daily life. However, software is also consuming a lot of energy. Green Specifications have been developed to increase eco-efficiency, i.e. also energy efficiency. The outcome is more flexible and more efficient software which perfectly fit the needs of citizens of a “smart” city and at the same time make better use of renewable energy sources.

Flyer: Who We Are and What We Do

We dedicate our research to find new approaches that enable the development of energy- and eco-efficient software. More specifically we focus on finding solutions that set eco-efficiency as a quality attribute of software already in the specification phase. For this purpose we have created the notion of green specifications. In addition to the ecological benefit that this approach will facilitate, it offers significant monetary gains and thus competitive advantages.

MS Visio Stencils

We have created a first set of Visio templates for easily creating green specifications. We support each of the three views used in green specifications - the structural, functional, and the behavioural view. For the structural view, eco-efficiency and SLA compartments were added to the class stencil. Functional specifications can now also be written in tabular format using Visio. The table already contains all standard compartments used in green specifications, including SLA and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the standard state-chart diagram was enhanced to include probabilities both within and at the transitions of each state. --> In order to be able to use our templates you have to have a licensed version of Microsoft Visio 2013. If you do not have MS Visio yet, you can also get a free trail version here.
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Thomas Schulze - Software Engineering Group

B6, 23 - 68161 Mannheim

http://swt.informatik.uni-mannheim.de

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