Sorry for the double-posting, but I don’t want Professor Gus to have to read up on our blog over Winter Break, and I really feel this subject should be put forth to the community.
When an industry consumes large amounts of any resource, it soon finds itself in the crosshairs of environmentalist groups, as it well should. Cyberscience is no exception to this, as data centers absorb staggering amounts of power. In class we have already covered the progressive response of many companies to move to “greener” energy sources. Yes, that is a very useful step to take, but until solar, wind, and water power becomes efficient enough to power all of the world’s data centers, this cannot be the only step taken. Luckily, many companies share my view on that.
There is a list of green supercomputing sites called the Green500 List, on it I was surprised to see many government-owned computers. I knew the government has need for many data-centers, but our nation isn’t the most environmentally friendly country out there. Apparently, some scientists got to work real hard on making these Computing centers as eco-friendly as possible. So I decided to probe further, and found out I didn’t have to look much further.
If you were to google “green supercomputing” right now, you would first see a link for the Green500 list. The very next link is concise, yet very well written article about NASA’s use of green supercomputing. The center they are speaking of is called “Pleiades”. The first thing they mention is its power efficiency. They speak proudly of their #54 spot on the Green500, but even more proudly of their #5 spot in efficiency(232 megaflops/watt). The entire system was built from the ground up with efficiency in mind, and their initial thoughtfulness has proven very beneficial in the long run. They also have special programming to idle unused machines within the system, and perform constant maintenance on the entire system to keep it operating at full efficiency.
This system is a great example of green supercomputing and its ability to be equally as powerful as regular supercomputing. Its great amount of efficiency has saved NASA much money (don’t worry, they will find somewhere else to spend it), and more importantly, has kept its carbon footprint extremely low(for a data-center).
Google “green supercomputing” if you want to view the articles referenced in this post, they are results 1 and 2.