Research: Projects


  • Bill Tomlinson
  • Office Location: 2006 Calit2 Building
  • Lab: 949.824.9802
  • Email:

Better Carbon*

Informatics professor and Calit2 academic affiliate Bill Tomlinson and his research group use collaborative filtering in a Web-based carbon footprint calculator. The site allows more accurate predictions of users’ impacts on the environment based on the answers to a few quick questions.

Most carbon-footprint calculators provide estimates based on answers to a lengthy list of sometimes cumbersome questions. Users must respond to detailed queries about their homes, utilities expenditures, airline travel mileage, cars, food choices and recycling efforts.

The Social Code Group’s Better Carbon calculator (, by contrast, estimates carbon footprints based primarily on the location of the user’s home, information that yields a lot more data about a person’s lifestyle than one might expect. “There’s an illusion in America that we’re all unique but much of the data we’re gathering is not that hard to predict,” Tomlinson says.

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