Seventh Workshop on Computing within Limits
June 14-15 2021

About LIMITS 2021

The LIMITS workshop concerns the role of computing in human societies affected by real-world limits (ecological and otherwise). We seek to reshape the computing research agenda as topics that acknowledge a need for limits are seldom discussed in relation to contemporary computing research. LIMITS 2021 solicits submissions that move us closer towards computing systems that support diverse human and non-human lifeforms within thriving biospheres.

This year, LIMITS will be a virtual, distributed workshop. All main sessions will be held in parallel (morning in Pacific Time, late afternoon in UTC).

Call For Papers

"We restate the question: can design be reoriented from its dependence on the marketplace toward creative experimentation with forms, concepts, territories, and materials, especially when appropriated by subaltern communities struggling to redefine their life projects in a mutually enhancing manner with the Earth?" --Escobar, 2018, p. xvii

LIMITS 2021 invites papers that respond to the question: "What is a LIMITS-aligned computing system?" We encourage authors to submit either a Hypothetical Systems paper or an Transitional Systems paper:

Hypothetical Systems: Applying or responding to ideas from earlier LIMITS workshops, propose a hypothetical computing system or artifact (either software, hardware, or some combination) that embodies LIMITS thinking. Who would use this system? Who might benefit from engaging with the system? Who might be harmed? How are the premises (conceptual or concrete) upon which the system is built different from our current computing systems? How does the LIMITS-informed system enact a different world or ways of being in the world?

Transitional Systems: Researchers and engineers, activists and concerned citizens, are (re)designing systems that acknowledge and address pressing ecological issues (e.g., severe droughts, flooding, wildfires, species extinction). A transitional systems paper concerns the (re)design, implementation, and/or evaluation of a real-world, contemporary, socio-technical computing system that responds--at least partially--to critiques or "implications for design" from earlier LIMITS papers or LIMITS-related scholarship (e.g., computing and sustainability, computing and social justice). All transitional systems papers should explicitly state how the system(s) described support LIMITS-aligned goals.

NOTE: We encourage authors to consider the stories they tell and reify through their work. As Constanza-Chock reminds us, "Stories have power". They continue to argue that, "(...) all technological innovation, is an interplay among complex sets of actors including users, developers, firms, universities, the state, and others, not a top-down process led by solitary programmer 'rock stars.' [...] "In other words, what stories are told about design problems, solutions, contexts, and outcome? Who gets to tell these stories? Who participates, who benefits, and who is harmed?" (p. 134)


Arturo Escobar. 2018. Designs for the pluriverse: radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Duke University Press, Durham.
Sasha Constanza-Chock. 2020. Design Justice: Community-led practices to build the worlds we need. MIT Press.

Important Dates

Abstract registration deadline: March 15, 2021, 11:59pm Pacific Time
Paper submission deadline: April 1, 2021, 11:59pm Pacific Time (grace period of a few days)
Paper reviews available: April 29, 2021
Camera ready deadline: May 15, 2021


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

Papers should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Papers should be in ACM double-column format, using the most recent template, but without ACM copyright information.
  • The main body text should use 9pt font.
  • The body of the paper should be a minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 10 pages, with an unlimited number of pages allowed for references.

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

All papers will be made freely available on the workshop website. Copyright will remain with the authors.


Program Committee

Oliver Bates, Lancaster University,
Eli Blevis, Indiana University,
Alan Borning, University of Washington,
Jay Chen, ICSI,
Elina Eriksson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology,
Kurtis Heimerl, University of Washington,
Neha Kumar, Georgia Tech,
Samuel Mann, Otago Polytechnic,
Bonnie Nardi, University of California - Irvine,
Lisa Nathan, University of British Columbia, (co-chair)
Teresa Cerratto Pargman, Stockholm University,
Vineet Pandey, Harvard University,
Birgit Penzenstadler, University of Gothenburg, Chalmers,
Barath Raghavan, USC, (co-chair)
Douglas Schuler, Evergreen State College,
Bill Tomlinson, University of California - Irvine,