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Green Award and Lakeside Geeks

By Rob Mitchum // April 1, 2014

Each year, Chicago Magazine hands out their Green Awards to a select sample of Chicagoans with original ideas for preserving the Earth’s future. Among the six 2014 winners profiled in the magazine’s April issue was University of Chicago atmospheric scientist Elizabeth Moyer, co-director of the CI’s Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP). Moyer’s profile talks about her research focus on building new instruments to measure atmospheric and climate data 60,000 feet above sea level, and her work with RDCEP to design better computer models to estimate the effect of climate change on agriculture, the economy, and other important sectors.

She’s adamant, too, that her findings (and the work of the center) eventually be made public so that governments, researchers, and activist groups can draw their own conclusions. “You may hear that there is a three-degree change in the global mean temp and think, What is the big deal?” she says. “It matters. As the temperature changes, things could die. It’s the scientist’s job to prepare people’s thinking.”

In the magazine’s March issue, the Computation Institute was included in a preview of the Lakeside Development, the 600-acre “neighborhood of the future” planned for the city’s South Side. Under the heading of The Geeks (we don’t mind), the CI is mentioned as a partner interested in exploring the data-related possibilities of the development — a reference to the Urban Center for Computation and Data‘s LakeSim project that will help planners use big data and scientific computation to rapidly test how different designs for Lakeside will affect its future residents and the surrounding environment.

The Geeks

One of the anchor tenants of the site could be a gigantic state-of-the-art data center, says the venture capitalist Amy Francetic, who is helping recruit participants. This vision (and the need to build a high-tech fiber-optic network to support it) has piqued the interest of the Computation Institute—a multimillion-dollar joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.

Photo by Saverio Truglia for Chicago Magazine

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