Hamilton Institute Seminar

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 - 12:00 to 13:00

Zoom details available here

Speaker: Professor Cristina Cano, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

Title: "Problematizing the sustainability of 5G/6G networks and devising alternative ways forward"

Abstract: Mobile communications networks are increasingly advocated as enablers for environmental sustainability (5G/6G for sustainability) due to their potential induced effects towards green transitions. Despite this potential, their own impact on sustainability is also acknowledged, and there are substantial research efforts to make these networks more sustainable via reducing their direct effects (sustainable 5G/6G). Sustainability of these networks is then seen as a trade-off between induced benefits and direct effects. However, I will argue in this talk that there is an urgent need to critically problematize both 5G/6G for sustainability and sustainable 5G/6G. The former relies on highly speculative predictions and takes limited account of negative induced effects, while the latter focuses on energy efficiency metrics, obscuring potential increasing absolute energy demand and other environmental dimensions, involving elements difficult to compare. In this talk, I will also call for alternative ways forward to current mobile network development and to the analysis of its potential effects on sustainability.

Biography: I hold a Ph.D. (2011) in Information, Communication and Audiovisual Media Technologies from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). I have been a research fellow in the Hamilton Institute of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (2012-2014), in Trinity College Dublin (2015-2016) and in Inria- Lille in France (first half of 2016). Currently, I am an associate professor at the Faculty of Computer Science and Telecomunications of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). I am also a research member of the WINE group at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), also at UOC. My research interests include coexistence of wireless heterogeneous networks and distributed resource allocation. Recently, I became interested in science and technology studies, trying to understand the intertwining of the social and the technological in the development of wireless networks, with special interest in the environmental impact of mobile networks. Although it says little about the quality of my research, it’s probably worth to mention that I appeared in the inaugural list “Rising Stars in Networking/Communications” of the N2Women organisation and that I have published 20 JCR journals and more than 30 conference articles (5 of them received the best paper award), attracting more than 2000 citations.