HDR-UK blog: Green Algorithms for Health Data Science

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We published an opinion piece with Jason Grealey and Michael Inouye on the HDR-UK blog.

Here is the start of it:

In the words of Dr Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet:

“The climate emergency that we’re facing today is the most important existential crisis facing the human species, and since medicine is all about protecting and strengthening the human species it should be absolutely foundational to the practice of what we do every single day.”

We, in the field of health data science, also abide by the Hippocratic Oath and should rise to the challenge of our climate emergency.

We tend to think that our main contribution is to design algorithms to solve the big health challenges of our time. Although there is little doubt that data science will be a key tool to tackle climate change, we often forget to consider how our own work also adds to the problem. The infrastructure we use, the algorithms and code that we write, all consume large quantities of electricity whose production is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions.

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