Green In Silico - Making Scientific Computing More Sustainable
Scientific and technical computing is already a major element in the energy consumption and carbon emissions of universities and research organisations. The bills and impacts are also growing rapidly as in silico work expands, driven by new opportunities such as enhanced visualisation, and actual substitution for in vivo and in vitro activity, e.g. replacement of physical manipulation of molecules by computer modelling. Absent radical action to improve computing and cooling efficiency, science-based institutions have growing difficulties in meeting environmental regulations and targets (especially in Europe), and are facing energy bills of a size that will greatly constrain actual research and teaching.
The project has two aims, both building on similar generic activities in SusteIT. Firstly, awareness raising beyond specialist ICT audiences e.g. amongst STEM decision makers and opinion formers, through an exploratory study of trends in STEM-related ICT, their energy (and other environmental) implications, and potential solutions to the challenge created by the latter. Secondly, the provision of practical support to a range of STEM-related ICT internal providers and users.
The project has two main components: 1) Strategic Review – a summary document highlighting current trends in scientific computing, their implications for ICT demand and related environmental impacts, and ways of avoiding the potential constraints of soaring energy bills and failing to meet environmental regulations and sector targets, and 2) practical improvement actions, including experience sharing through events and other activities; and development of guidance materials and tools. Its outputs to date include:
1. Events - see the Events – Past Presentations for content from:
Greening Data Centres and Storage, University of St Andrews, 19 November 2011.
Energy Efficient ICT - Salix-funded Investment Opportunities, King's College and Nottingham Trent University, 20 and 23 September 2010 respectively.
Financing Energy Efficiency in University Data Centres and IT Activities, UUK, London and University of Manchester, 8 September and 14 July 2010 respectively (in collaboration with JISC's RECSO project).
Greening Data Centres and Storage, Cardiff University, 7 September 2010.
Improving Data Centre Efficiency - Temperature Control, Virtualisation & Other Measures, University of Sheffield, 30 March 2010 (in colaboration with EAUC's SusTech project).
2. A series of briefing papers, and case studies highlighting best practice. They can be found in the Publications and Cases sections of the site.
Briefing papers published so far include:
1. JISC's Green IT Programme
2. Salix Funding for ICT Energy Efficiency
3. Energy Star for ICT Equipment
4. Green ICT Product Labelling Schemes
Cases published so far include:
Green Data Centre Refurbishment at Hertfordshire - 1st university to comply with the EU Code of Conduct on Data Centres
A 1.2 PUE Data Centre at the University of St Andrews - whose key energy efficiency features were financed by Salix
Low Carbon IT and Research at the NREL Campus - whose new 20,436 m2 Research Support Facility (with data centre) targets net zero carbon operation.
The project is funded by the Green IT programme of JISC, which supports UK colleges and universities in the innovative use of digital technologies and provides the JANET network (see www.jisc.ac.uk).