Fifth Workshop on Computing within Limits
June 10-11, Lappeenranta, Finland

About LIMITS 2019

The LIMITS workshop aims to foster discussion on the impact of present and future ecological, material, energetic, and societal limits on computing. These topics are seldom discussed in contemporary computing research. A key aim of the workshop is to promote innovative, concrete research, potentially of an interdisciplinary nature, that focuses on technologies, critiques, techniques, and contexts for computing within fundamental economic and ecological limits. A longer-term goal is to build a community around relevant topics and research. We hope to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits. This year we are colocating with ICT4S in Lappeenranta, Finland.

Remote Participation

This year all talks are being live streamed. Url: Password: limits2019
Presentations will be recorded and available after the workshop.

We are encouraging a buddy system for remote participation in breakout sessions including Skype for business remote participation. [Sign up and details]

[Open questions for future planning and housekeeping]


Program Committee

Oliver Bates, Lancaster University, (co-chair)
Eli Blevis, Indiana University,
Jay Chen, New York University - Abu Dhabi, (co-chair)
Elina Eriksson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology,
Kurtis Heimerl, University of Washington,
Lara Houston, Goldsmiths, University of London,
Ann Light, University of Sussex,
Bonnie Nardi, University of California - Irvine,
Lisa Nathan, University of British Columbia,
Teresa Cerratto Pargman, Stockholm University,
Birgit Penzenstadler, California State University - Long Beach,
Barath Raghavan, USC,
Christian Remy, Aarhus University,
Douglas Schuler, Evergreen State College,
Bill Tomlinson, University of California - Irvine,

Steering Committee

Bonnie Nardi, UC Irvine
Barath Raghavan, USC
Karla Carter (ACM SIGCAS chair), Bellevue University

Call For Papers

LIMITS aims to foster research on the impact of present or future ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits on computing and computing research to respond to such limits. The medium-term aim of the workshop is to foster research, potentially of an interdisciplinary nature, that innovates on technologies, techniques, and contexts for computing within fundamental limits. A longer-term goal is to build a community around relevant topics and research. A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity. A recent article in the Communications of the ACM provides a good primer on Computing within Limits.

We envision two broad categories of papers: "discussion papers" and "systems papers" (see below). Submissions do not need to strictly fit into either category. All papers should succinctly frame the limits that are of interest to the author(s).

Discussion papers explore the nature of limits and computing. Good discussion contributions will detail the nature of the limits of interest, describe their impact on computing, and present directions for future research. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Sustainability and computing
  • Re-evaluation of conventional computing premises (e.g. Moore's law)
  • Discussion of new limits and their implications for computing
  • Analysis of unnecessary computing
  • Analysis of greenwashing in computing
  • Ecological economics and/or biophysical economics and computing
  • Implications of limits for computing systems for health, education, agriculture, transportation, entertainment, commerce, etc.

Systems papers describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of computing systems that work within or help cope with limits. Also of interest are evaluations of systems that fail due to limits. Good systems contributions will address problems that meet present or future societal needs, describe clear limits and operational boundaries, and provide a detailed evaluation of the system in question. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Material- and manufacturing-constrained computing devices
  • Energy- and material-efficient computing and communication
  • Wide-area communication under constraints
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design under constraints
  • Evaluation of limits to modern computing systems
  • Life-cycle analysis of computing systems under limits
  • Computer architecture for constrained computing
  • Systems for health, education, agriculture, transportation, entertainment, commerce, etc. under limits

Important Dates

Abstract registration deadline: February 22, 2019, 11:59pm Pacific Time
Paper submission deadline: March 1, 2019, 11:59pm Pacific Time
Paper reviews available: March 28, 2019
Camera ready deadline: May 1, 2019, 11:59pm Pacific Time


Submit papers at this site. (If you have any issues with the submission site, please email

Papers must be registered, with a title and abstract, by February 22, 2019 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Papers must be submitted in PDF format by March 1, 2019, 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Papers should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Papers should be in ACM double-column format, using the most recent template (updated in 2017)
  • The main body text should use 9pt Times or Times New Roman font.
  • The body of the paper should be a minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 9 pages, with an unlimited number of pages allowed for references.

Reviewing will be non-blind; authors should include their names and contact information.

Program and Papers

Keynote Speaker:

David Abson - Leuphana University, Germany

Dave Abson is a junior professor in sustainability economics in the Faculty of Sustainability at Leuphana University, Germany. He has an interdisciplinary background spanning, landscape ecology, ecological economics and sustainability science, with a particular focus on ecosystem services and food system sustainability. Dave was a lead author of the two economic chapters of the UK National Ecosystem assessment. He is currently an editor for the journal Sustainability Science and a principle investigator in the inter- and transdisciplinary project Leverage Points for Sustainability transformation, where his focus is on conceptualizing sustainability interventions and transformative change in complex socio-ecological systems from a systems thinking perspective.

Monday, June 10

Time Activity
9:15 Welcome
9:30 Invited Talk
A leverage points perspective on sustainability transformations
David Abson (Leuphana University, Germany)
10:30 Break
11:00 Paper Session
Who Breathes the Smoke? Technologies for Community-Based Natural Resource Management
Matt Ziegler (University of Washington)
The SAGE Community Coordinator: A Demonstration
Juliet Norton (UC Irvine), Birgit Penzenstadler (California State University - Long Beach), Samantha McDonald, Emily Kang, Nora Koirala, Rieko Konishi, Gabriela Pena Carmona, Jainee Shah, Sebastian Troncoso, Bill Tomlinson (UC Irvine)
Experimenting with Novel Forms of Computing: The case of the Swedish Citizen Observatory for Water Quality Conservation
Teresa Cerratto Pargman, Somya Joshi (Stockholm University), Uta Wehn (IHE)
12:15 Lunch
2:00 [Remote] Discussion/Breakout Session
3:30 Break
4:00 [Remote] Discussion/Breakout Session
5:30 Dinner

Tuesday, June 11

Time Activity
9:30 Paper Session
Participatory simulation of institutions could help address global limits (short paper)
Bill Tomlinson (UC Irvine), M. Six Silberman (IG Metall), Andrew W. Torrance (University of Kansas), Kurt Squire (UC Irvine)
The Lions’ Gate: Towards a Permaculture-inspired Blended Space
Callum Egan, Richard Thompson, Andrew O'Dowd (Edinburgh Napier University)
The High Cost of Free Services: Problems with Surveillance Capitalism for IT Infrastructure and Possible Alternatives
Marvin Landwehr (University of Siegen), Alan Borning (University of Washington), Volker Wulf (University of Siegen)
Should Do, Can Do, Can Know: Sustainability and Other Reflections on One Hundred and One Interaction Design Projects
Huaxin Wei, Jeffrey C.F. Ho, Kenny K.N. Chow (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Shunying An Blevis, Eli Blevis (Indiana University)

10:55 Break
11:15 Paper Session
Exile Within Borders: Understanding the Limits of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Iraq
Dina Sabie, Samar Sabie, Cansu Ekmekcioglu Dedeoglu, Yasaman Rohanifar, Fatma Hashim, Steve Easterbrook, Syed Ishtiaque Ahemd (University of Toronto)
Breaking the Cornucopian Paradigm: Towards Moderate Internet Use in Everyday Life
Kelly Widdicks (Lancaster University), Daniel Pargman (KTH)
Sustainable Platform Cooperativism: Towards social and environmental justice in the future of the gig-economy (short paper)
Oliver Bates (Lancaster University, UK), Ben Kirman (University of York, UK)
Transitional Imaginaries - Testing The LIMITS (short paper)
Baruch Gottlieb (Studium Generale of the University of Arts, Berlin, Germany), Nicolas Maigret ( art collective, Paris, France), Maria Roszkowska, ( art collective, Paris, France)
12:35 Lunch
2:00 [Remote] Discussion/Breakout
3:30 Break
4:00 [Remote] Housekeeping, Next Steps for LIMITS
6:00 Dinner - Vegan Indian buffet dinner at the LUT beachfront sauna

Registration Information

The workshop will be held on the campus of LUT University, Lappeenranta, Finland. There will be a registration fee of €100 (EURO) non-students and €50 (EURO) for students. The fee covers workshop registration, lunches and refreshments during the workshop. It does not cover transportation.

Information regarding registration for LIMITS and ICT4S can be found here.

Travel and Local Information

The workshop is co-located with ICT4S again this year. The LUT University is located in the Skinnarila district, seven kilometres from the city centre, at Skinnarilankatu 34, 53850 Lappeenranta. Here is a map of all the venues. Please find detailed accommodation information at this link and travel information here.