Meet GSF Organisational Leads: Sarah Hsu of Goldman Sachs

Posted on March 15th, 2022

Sarah Hsu is an Associate at Goldman Sachs working on Site Reliability Engineering. She is also chairing the project on revising and extending the Principles of Green Software Engineering to reflect the evolution the field has seen since the original principles were created in 2019.

Meet GSF Organisational Leads: Sarah Hsu of Goldman Sachs

Tell us about your interest in green software and your journey to GSF.

As someone who works in Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), my aim is to ensure that systems are resilient and reliable. Green Software Engineering shares a similar value: to build sustainable software. Sustainability and reliability are different concepts but are closely related and should go hand in hand with one another. We can think of sustainability as reliability over time. We want to guarantee that the present needs are met without compromising any future demands. For SREs to maintain a system's reliability over time, we need to strike the right balance between operations and development. Striking the right balance between delivering a sustainable solution and maintaining reliability is similar to what SREs do regularly. By applying similar principles, we can further accelerate the adoption of green software practices.

Adopting greener software practices at Goldman Sachs has been a journey that we took on as a collective. We have received strong support from the firm and built a community of like-minded engineers and sponsors. One of our key focus areas for 2022 are internal and external community engagement. We are planning various events where engineers can learn more about the green software movement. Externally, we are hosting one of the Green Software Foundation summits in our London office. This event will be an excellent opportunity for all GSF members to learn, collaborate, and innovate. Stay tuned. More information on the annual summit will be announced soon!

What do you expect to achieve by working with the GSF and in green software in general? 

I am very passionate about the Green Software Foundation's educational component, which includes raising awareness, encouraging discussions, and amplifying voices. I would like to see green software engineering become an integral part of the educational curriculum for anyone learning to code. This will bring us a step closer to sustainability being a crucial pillar of consideration when designing software.

I am also part of the group that aims to revise and extend the Principles of Green Software Engineering. The original principles were created in 2019, and green software engineering has evolved significantly since then. The project aims to reflect on what we have learned over the past few years. For instance, we will expand several sections, such as electricity and carbon intensity, to include measuring methodologies. We are also looking to expand the scope to discuss neutralisations, limitations of offsets, and the difference between offsets and reductions. We are also  introducing a section to include patterns and best practices for specific domains, offering our readers implementation details on applying the principles to their use cases. 

Through the understanding of the principles, our readers will gain baseline knowledge to contribute to more advanced topics within the field. And they will be able to communicate with each other using a shared language and dictionary because the principles are independent of domain, industry and technology. 

How can companies encourage more young software engineers to participate in the green software movement?

In my experience, the younger generation cares deeply about sustainability and it affects their decision-making. I think that same drive for sustainability will become ingrained in software development practices as well. A clear call to action message with already packaged opportunities makes it easier to join the cause. 

Younger software engineers will appreciate the opportunity to contribute to an open source community, volunteer at a conference, moderate a technical discussion, write a blog post, and empower each other through knowledge.

Any other matters you would like to share with us on green software and sustainability?

We care deeply about climate change, sustainability and diversity at Goldman Sachs. Our CEO David Solomon highlighted the following in the ‘Accelerating Transition 2021’ report, “As a financial institution, we believe we can achieve the greatest impact in advancing the climate transition by partnering with our clients across our business.”

We were very fortunate to join the Green Software Foundation as a founding member and are excited to be at the forefront of the green software movement. We look forward to creating a trusted ecosystem of innovation and collaboration with other member organisations across industries so our efforts are cohesive and accelerated.

I would personally like to invite those who are interested in working on the new updated and extended version of Principles of Green Software Engineering to join our Project. We look forward to your engagement.

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Nilooka Dissanayake
Nilooka DissanayakeEditor & Content Creator