Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Potential projects

Energy reduction in Office IT work

Standard laptop computers have become a major factor of electrical energy consumption in a modern energy aware household. For people trying to go off-grid a modern laptop is a notable obstacle. This also can increase the digital divide.

The problem lies chiefly in the software. In this project we will investigate software solutions and fitting hardware choices that make the work more user friendly and reduce energy consumption.

Supervisor: Gerald Weber, School of Computer Sciences g.weber@auckland.ac.nz

Energy aware cloud computing

Online services have dramatically increased power consumption. Search and other online services are often optimized with speed in mind but not with energy consumption. In this project we look at cloud technologies that are energy aware and can save dramatically the resource consumption of online work. A second part of the project is an energy aware cloud user homepage where the user can keep track of the energy usage.

Supervisor: Gerald Weber, School of Computer Sciences g.weber@auckland.ac.nz

Utilizing alternative fibres for paper saving

Certain visual art forms are dependent on the use of paper, such as drawing, watercolour, gouache. The wet properties of current cotton-based papers (wet deformation, waviness) is a big problem. Cotton paper expands when wet. For that reason, currently very thick paper strengths are used, 300gsm is the standard for pure cotton, about 4 times as thick as office paper. This of course is resource intensive. Historically this seemed to be not the case, it seems that even thinner paper did not buckle so extremely. It seems to be that different fibres, especially linen/flax, used therein had different wet properties. In this project, different fibres, including NZ flax (a different plant than linen/flax), as well as mineral paper ingredients, will be investigated. This would possibly show a path to using less resources in the future. The project has a strong literature research component as well as an experimental component.

Supervisor: Gerald Weber, School of Computer Sciences g.weber@auckland.ac.nz

Re-cycle Ride

Based on the principles of Adventure Learning we are looking for four students to undertake a cycling tour to investigate innovations in recycling and waste management. This four day experience will involve riding a loop (reinforcing the idea of recycling) starting in Raglan and taking in a number of small towns in the Waikato. Along the way participants will investigate what these small towns are doing in terms of recycling and waste management. The aim of this project is to provide an online educational resource for schools (linked to existing inquiry-based curriculum). As well as riding the tour participants will be involved in planning (including sourcing bikes, arranging interviews and doing background research) and delivering, a functional learning resource (content, images, videos etc).

The Re-cycle Ride will take place over (approximately) four days in 2017 during the mid-semester break (September 4th – 17th).

Adventure Learning is providing students with opportunities to explore real-world issues through authentic learning experiences within collaborative learning environments (Doering 2005).

We are looking for four students who will be eligible to apply for an award of up to $1000 each. An award is not guaranteed and it may still be possible to participate without an award.

Contact Joe Fagan, School of Environment: j.fagan@auckland.ac.nz