The Discipline of Business Information Systems seminar organiser is Sebastian Boell.
7th Dec 2015 - 01:00 pm
Venue: Room 4150, H70 – Abercrombie Building
Speaker: Dr. Graham Pickren, Roosevelt University
Title: Landscapes of Big Data: Mapping the Political Economy and Political Ecology of data centre growth in the United States
A light meal will be served.
Abstract: One of the hallmarks of today’s digital era is the capturing of huge volumes of information about people, things, and their relationships. While a great deal of scholarship looks at the possibilities of this ‘big data’ in terms of its applications for industry, governance, and science, little academic work has interrogated the relationship between big data ‘in the cloud’ and the place-based and energy-intensive infrastructure of data centers that support it. Data centers are physical locations that house machines for the storage and processing of digital information, and because these data centers collectively have energy demands on par with the aviation sector, their proliferation is transforming both urban and rural regions across the U.S. (and globally) in multiple ways. As demands for digital data increase with the expansion of mobile computing and the ‘internet of things’, improving public understanding of the relationship between digital technologies, their infrastructure, and sustainability initiatives illuminates the broader relationship between computing, the internet, and socio-environmental change. This seminar presents early stages of work on the following questions: (1) where are data centers located, and why? (2) what are the major trends in data center growth, particularly in regards to sustainability initiatives? (3) in what ways are data centers a new kind of infrastructure?
Bio: Graham Pickren received his training in human geography from the University of Georgia, USA and recently joined the Sustainability Studies program at Roosevelt University in Chicago as an Assistant Professor. His areas of expertise converge around three interrelated themes: an urban political ecology approach to the study of digital technologies and the infrastructure of the internet; an interest in green political economy and debates about sustainability; and a constructive engagement with environmental governance and policy, specifically around the role of markets in driving socio-environmental change.
Places are limited.
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