Google awards $1 million for research effort to slash energy consumption in Internet data centers

Feb 04, 2010

Google Inc. has awarded a two-year, $1 million research grant aimed at slashing energy usage in large Internet data centers to a team of computer scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), Rutgers University, the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia. The company may also award an additional $500,000 for a third year subject to program review.

The grant is the largest that this week awarded in the area of computing , and is part of $5.7 million that the company awarded to 12 university projects in areas of key interest to the company and the computing research community. Energy efficiency is a key concern for Internet companies because data centers can consume large amounts of power.

"Data centers have to be built to handle the highest anticipated demand," said Ricardo Bianchini, computer science professor in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. "But most of the time, they are only running between 20 and 50 percent of capacity. Trouble is, the computer servers in these centers consume about the same amount of energy whether their workload is low or high."

The team will explore ways to create low power modes in servers, allowing parts of the computer to be turned off while other parts remain accessible. The goal is to allow less active servers to move their processing loads to other servers and essentially go to sleep. But information on the sleeping servers' memories must still be instantly accessible.

In current computer designs, data requests go through a memory controller that is part of the , or CPU. If that CPU is asleep, it cannot provide that access. One proposal is to redesign CPUs with a separate power feed to the memory controller, allowing it to perform the needed memory management functions while the rest of the CPU stays asleep.

The goal of such redesigns would be to conserve 40 to 50 percent of the power that servers now consume.

The team members are all affiliated with UCSB's Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing.

"Greenscale will provide critical infrastructure to the project with the planned construction of the Greenscale Experimental Datacenter, a state-of-the-art miniature data center where systems researchers can conduct radical experiments not possible in production data centers," said Fred Chong, professor of computer science at UCSB and the center's director.

"My group has been studying aspects of 'green' computing since 2000, especially from a data center point-of-view," said Bianchini. "We were the first group to argue that consumption was a serious issue for servers, not just for battery operated electronics."

Explore further: Study shows forward osmosis desalination not energy efficient

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

U.S. Data Centers Consume 45 Billion kWh Annually, Study

Feb 16, 2007

In a keynote address at the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit in New York yesterday, Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, AMD, revealed findings from a study that comprehensively ...

More Power to Google

Apr 07, 2007

Google is seeking the optimal energy efficiency for its large data centers, and it is counting on its top engineers to help deliver it.

IBM Extends Deep Computing on Demand Offering

Jun 21, 2007

IBM today expanded its Deep Computing Capacity on Demand (DCCoD) solutions. In a collaboration with Intel, IBM plans to offer the latest Dual-Core and Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor technology on its System x servers for ...

Faster searches key to a greener web

Aug 31, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Faster internet search engine processors could be the key to reducing the environmental impact of the worldwide web, according to scientists at the University of Glasgow.

IBM Debuts New Category of Server for Web 2.0 Computing

Apr 23, 2008

IBM introduced today an entirely new category of server uniquely designed to address the technology needs of companies that use Web 2.0-style computing to operate massive data centers with tens of thousands of servers.

Recommended for you

Self-cooling solar cells boost power, last longer

Jul 22, 2014

Scientists may have overcome one of the major hurdles in developing high-efficiency, long-lasting solar cells—keeping them cool, even in the blistering heat of the noonday Sun.

User comments : 0