Cars, buildings and industry require energy and are known to contribute to the greenhouse effect. What is less well-known is that digitization has an ecological footprint, too: streaming movies, producing and shipping smartphones, communicating via messenger-apps - all of this also requires energy and raw materials. To help consumers find resource and energy-efficient products, Germany's Blue Angel eco-label also awards consumer products in the field of Information and Communication Technology with their internationally-recognized eco-label. Now, for the very first time, a software product - KDE's universal document viewer "Okular" - has been certified with the Blue Angel seal. Particularly significant for the Umwelt Campus Birkenfeld is that the underlying award criteria for the "Blue Angel for Software" were co-developed by researchers here.
By consulting and measuring the software's energy consumption, the team working with Prof. Dr. Stefan Naumann, who is head of the research group "Environmental and Sustainability Informatics" at the Institute for Software Systems, has supported Okular's application for the Blue Angel eco-certification. This work was done as part of a cooperation of student projects and the Free and Open-Source Software community KDE, who develops the document viewer. "We are very happy about the first Blue Angel award," says Naumann, "and that through the students' measurements and analyses, along with the award criteria and cooperation with the community, KDE was able to successfully apply for the eco-label." Moreover, the students in the computer science programs on campus have learned a lot about software development and software efficiency in the process.
Since KDE and the wider Free and Open-Source Software community develop many more computer programs, the KDE Eco initiative, will assist Free Software projects in measuring and certifying their applications. Computer science research at the campus intends to continue and expand this cooperation. Such projects are directly integrated into the study programs "Environmental and Business Informatics" and "Applied Informatics and Artificial Intelligence". "So even first-year students can work directly on such projects," says Naumann, who is also head of the computer science department at UCB.
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