When it comes to cutting your facility's computer energy consumption, you may not have to look much further than a computer programmer.
A University of Washington (UW) project sees a role for programmers to reduce the energy appetite of the ones and zeros in the computer's code. Researchers have created a system called EnerJ, which reduces energy consumption in simulations by up to 50% and has the potential to cut energy by as much as 90%.
"We all know that energy consumption is a big problem," says Luis Ceze, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering. "With our system, mobile phone users would notice either a smaller phone, or longer battery life, or both. Computing centers would notice a lower energy bill."
The UW researchers' approach would combine the software component with hardware methods, like using a new type of microchip, lowering refresh rates, and reducing memory chip voltage. However, it also has applications in current computer hardware.
Today's computers could use EnerJ with a purely software-based approach. Researchers estimate a 30-50% energy savings based on software alone.
They believe that up to a 90% cut in power usage could be achieved by combining hardware and software methods.