Marv Adams And Our Open Source Mission

August 21, 2008 by Andrew P. Jones

In 2007, Peter Senge of SoL convened a meeting at Schlumberger in New York. Peter was passionate about extending the use of accessible climate simulations and wanted to think about the idea with others.  Around the table were Marv Adams of Citigroup, Michael Tempel of SEED/Schlumberger, Simone Amber of SEED/Schlumberger, Nathan Senge, and me. It was the day we discovered our “Open Source Mission.”

I remember the scene as if it were yesterday.  We showed Marv Adams our latest sims, including the bathtub, and told him about our plans to work with various groups. Marv had used simulations in past leadership positions (and demo’ed a cool agent-based sim George Danner had built on ways to people in a stadium) and acknowledged what we had done.

But he challenged us. He said, “What will be the contribution that I/T companies can make to addressing climate change? I think we could help find a way to spread these simulations and help many other people around the world add their own models and materials by using open source approaches.”

My first reactions: Can others do what WE do? Isn’t this making things more complex than needed? Sounds like the fad of 2007…

Well, we haven’t yet answered these questions, but we certainly haven’t found another way to scale up the level of impact from these simulations at a growth rate appropriate to the need to reduce global fossil fuel CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.

So Marv articulated the mission - utilize open source approaches to enable the creation and use of powerful climate simulations, as a path to climate stabilization.  Off we went.