Small logo of ETH main building ETH Zurich : Computer Science : Pervasive Computing : Distributed Systems : Education : DR HS2019

Digitalization and the Rebound Effect – Seminar HS2019

Dr. Vlad Coroama

Time and place

Thursdays, 13:15 - 15:00, Room CHN G 22

Introduction session

An introduction to the seminar was given on Thursday the 19th of September 2018 during the first class. Seminar topics were assigned to students during this session.


The goal of the seminar is to learn about the impact of digitalization on energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and environmental sustainability in general, with special emphasis on the subtler implications of rebound effects.

Furthermore, students will also be familiarized with reviewing scientific literature, delivering a scientifically sound presentation respecting the allocated time, and producing a scientific report.


The seminar consists of talks given by students on selected topics, followed by subsequent discussions led by the instructor. A maximum of 11 students will be admitted to the seminar. Priority will be given to Master students who have sufficient background knowledge in the topic but the seminar is generally open to Bachelor and Doctoral students as well.

Seminar attendees select a specific topic within the broader context of current research and prepare an oral presentation. As a starting point, the students are assigned 3-5 important papers in their topic but they have to collect complementary materials and compile them together. Oral presentations must be planned for 45 minutes. Each presentation will be followed by a technical discussion as well as a short feedback session on the quality/style of the presentation. Each student also has to write a short essay on the selected topic. Essays must be composed using a given template and must be of length 4-8 pages (including figures, tables, and references). The essay is due in 3 weeks after the presentation. The quality of this essay will be evaluated and considered for the final grade.

In addition to studying the selected papers only, the students should do independent literature research, and should summarize the whole topic in their presentations and essays.

Each student will have the opportunity to discuss their papers in detail with the instructor, and will meet with him one week prior to the presentation to receive preliminary feedback.

The seminar will be held in English. Presentations and reports must be in English. Attendees are required to participate in all sessions.


Please use the following template for your report. For the presentation, you may use the (slightly overloaded) ETH presentation template, or a simpler slide template of your choice.


The final grade is based on:
  • the quality of the presentation;
  • the quality of the essay;
  • participation in discussions and feedback sessions after each presentation.
Students who successfully complete the seminar will be awarded 2 credit points (ECTS).


 #  Date  Category  Topic  Speaker(s)
  I.   19.09.2019  Intro & admin  Introduction to the Seminar/Pre-assignment of topics
How to give good seminar presentations
 Vlad Coroama 
 Prof. Friedemann Mattern 
  II.   26.09.2019  No seminar
  1.   03.10.2019  Setting the stage  How can digital systems help saving energy and carbon?  Fabian Müller (slides)
  2.   10.10.2019  Rebound effects: definition & types  Martin Blapp (slides)
  3.   17.10.2019  The direct energy consumption of ICT  Zuowen Wang
  4.   24.10.2019  Positive effects vs. rebound effects
 in specific domains
 Telework  Dario Pavlio
  5.   31.10.2019  Online shopping  Karin Paulsson
  6.   07.11.2019  Electronic media  Luigi Sansonetti
  7.   14.11.2019  Sharing economy  Ada Langenfeld
  8.   21.11.2019  Autonomous vehicles  Danil Ivanov
  9.   28.11.2019  Wrapping up & zooming out  Limiting factors: applications with no or little rebound  Vanessa Tschichold
  10.   05.12.2019  New technologies & affluence: coal, paper, now data?  Amray Schwabe
  11.   12.12.2019  Are rebound effects unavoidable or are there effective countermeasures?  Fabian Ulbricht
  III.   19.12.2019  Overarching conclusions  all seminar participants


The list of topics is provided below.

ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated October 16 2019 05:59:57 PM MET hs