Day: August 26, 2009

Thermageddon and the CD

Thermageddon, the title of a recent book by Greenpeace founder Robert Hunter,has morphed into pervasive net-speak for climate change doomsday, and recently The Register website ("Biting the hand that feeds IT") presented a study on a trend that might help delay Thermageddon a bit longer: the music download.  A trio of scientists from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and Carnegie Mellon University used Monte Carlo software to analyze the energy impacts of various modes of music distribution.  

Reporting to the Intel Corporation, the scientists’ "risk analysis" model takes into account the costs of music recording, CD production, packaging, and various modes of transportation for music delivery methods.  These start with the most energy expensive –driving your personal car to a retail outlet to purchase a packed-in-plastic CD–and work their way to the most energy efficient–a simple download to a music playback device.
The scientists used the Excel Monte Carlo function to derive the projected energy impacts of these various scenarios.  Of course, because of the scale of the music industry, the energy savings from direct downloads is a very big number.   Using figures from an Apple marketing executive for the number of iTune downloads for the past 6 years–six billion–The Register took a run at one tiny piece of the study and calculated that the iTunes Music Store had spared the world CO2 emissions equivalent to emissions from 3 billion miles of driving.
The question of the comparative energy impacts of the various scenarios is on the surface a no-brainer and this kind of environmental risk analysis may seem to add a burden of factual details to the no-brainer.  But when it comes to Thermageddon–whether or not you believe in that scenario–factual details are what we need to work with.  Besides, the report is full of fun bar charts .   

Integrated Project Risk Analysis

2009 Palisade Conference in New York City Jay O’Connor is a Director at Turner & Townsend Inc. With over 25 years of experience in the areas of estimating, planning and quantitative risk analysis for international projects, Jay understands the complexities that are associated with identifying and assessing project risks. His experience includes both the owner’s and contractor’s side of engineering and construction projects. He has worked in the upstream and downstream oil and gas industry sectors and the pulp and paper sector. His career has taken him to the United Kingdom, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

Jay will present a case study at the 2009 the 2009 Palisade Conference: Risk Analysis, Applications, & Training. The conference is set to take place on 21 – 22 October at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, 10 minutes by PATH from Manhattan’s Financial District.

See the abstract for his case study below, and see the full schedule for the Conference here.

Integrated Project Risk Analysis

When conducting project risk analysis, it is not uncommon for the qualitative risk, quantitative schedule and quantitative cost risk analysis to be conducted separately and kept independent of each other. While some software packages attempt to integrate all three into one analysis, these efforts tend to fall short in one area or another. Turner & Townsend’s approach is to integrate the residual risks and opportunities along with the results from the schedule risk analysis into the cost risk analysis to develop a more fully integrated project risk analysis. The presentation will discuss our approach to risk analysis.

October 21-22 in NYC

Building on the success of last year’s record-breaking event, the conference will offer a wide range of software training, model building, and real-world case study sessions. Last year, the event drew over 150 practitioners and decision-makers from a broad spectrum of industries. The @RISK and DecisionTools software tracks were more popular than ever. This year, we’re expanding software training with sessions that let you walk through examples and try the tools directly. This will enable you to take some new tips back to the office. Please join us in October for a great opportunity to learn and connect with colleagues.