Although the first supercomputers might not stand a chance even against the smartphones of today, nevertheless, they too have evolved like everything else. With their supernatural computational and analytical abilities, they light the way for the computers of the coming generation. However, just like their abilities, the requirements of the supercomputers are also extreme. Even simple computers have high electricity requirements. Supercomputers take this to a brand new level. You need a range of air conditioners, coolants to keep them cool. Add to that their operational costs and you have a very huge carbon footprint. Nevertheless, so as to one day make more computers of this capacity for commercial purposes, companies are coming up eco-friendly supercomputers to tackle this problem.
Average Computers Vs. Supercomputers
Supercomputers are not like your average personal computer. They are built strictly for heavy tasks that can take up plenty of memory, energy and processing power. The calculations they make literally range in the size of terabytes. Furthermore, they are usually used in the fields of medicine, mathematics, engineering, and astronomy, etc. for very complicated tasks.
The new range of supercomputers introduced recently has another silent weapon up their alley as well. Check out 4 such supercomputers that are being termed the most eco-friendly supercomputers on the planet.
4 Eco-Friendly Supercomputers
1. Bio-Powered Super Computer
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A team of scientists in Toronto have created an eco-friendly supercomputer that runs on bio-energy. Taking up a much smaller space than traditional super computers, the bio-powered computer also uses lesser energy than the former. However, they process the information at the same speed.
The bio-powered super computer in fact, uses a substance called Adenosine Triphosphate for energy. This is the same substance that supplies energy to all the cells in our body. Therefore, these indicate at the possible arrival of a new generation of biological supercomputers in the near future.
2. SGI Supercomputer Cooled with Eco-Friendly Fluids
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Intel has built a new supercomputer in collaboration with SGI which is cooled by an eco-friendly fluid. The SGI ICE X System comes with an advanced coolant system using 3M’s Novec coolant. Therein the cooling fluid flows directly above the hardware. This helps to cool down the computer faster and more effectively. Furthermore, it also helps cutting down the cooling costs considerably in the process while improving performance as well.
Intel claims that this can also reduce the need for a bulky cooling system to cool down supercomputers which usually generate tons of heat. According to the company, this method will also reduce the overall power consumption of the cooling system by nearly 95% when compared to traditional air cooled systems.
3. Eco-Friendly Grape – DR Super Computer
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Designed by Tokyo’s Department of Information Science, the Grape –DR is toured to be one of the greenest super computers on earth. Earning plenty of rave reviews since its launch, the computer is featured in the ‘Little Green 500’ list that displays the top 500 eco-friendly computers in the world. Among the more impressive features of the Grape –DR are the 4 Grape –DR accelerator chips, 64 Intel Core i7-920 processors and a power usage of only 50 watts which is roughly the same amount of energy used by up a light bulb. This makes the Grape –DR greener as well as more efficient than other super computers.
4. Power 575 Supercomputer featuring Hydro-Cluster Design
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Launched by IBM, the Power 575 Supercomputer is touted to be another eco-friendly supercomputer that can literally redefine the way computers are built in the near future. Featuring the company’s patented Power 6 Microprocessor, the Power 575 uses copper plates chilled with water as the computer’s coolant system.
These copper plates are placed right above the microprocessor in order to dissipate the heat emitted from the latter. The cooling system itself features an impressive hydro cluster design that will radically reduce the number of cooling systems needed for the Power 575 by 80% while reducing the amount of energy used up by each cooling system by 40% or more. This unique cooling method ensures that any computer or supercomputer that uses this system can reduce its carbon footprint on the planet significantly.
A new set of eco-friendly supercomputers introduced by scientists tends to break stereotypical barriers by taking up lesser space and using less energy than traditional supercomputers. Furthermore, supercomputers can’t go green unless our data centres go green too. Here’s a list of 5 data centres that are going green.
5 – Eco-friendly Data Centres
1. Yahoo Data Center
This is the concept being developed for Yahoo Group. This data center is located in Lockport, New York, near Buffalo. It will house 7500 servers and not have any air-conditioning units. The strategy is to make efficient use of the cold air flowing through that area. So all the cooling requirements will be met by the ambient air. Thus, the power consumption will drop from 1.92 to 1.08. This is accomplished due to the relatively cold climate of New York. Also, a innovative design called Yahoo Chicken Coop design will enable the proper circulation of air, thus cooling the complete facility. Thus, if their proposed plan works well, they will succeed in saving about 40% of electricity.
2. Limestone Cave Data Center
This one seems to be the oddest technology ever. The use of extreme cold temperature inside the limestone caves. Limestone caves can filter out 1.5 BTU (British Thermal Units) of heat per square feet. They are proposing to build a complete data center inside the cave, to make use of this natural cooling. The technique is to cover the server racks with perforated ceiling tiles that are attached to the cave walls, which then will absorb the heat. Thus this concept also tries to reduce the air-conditioning cost. Also the cave further eliminates the need to build a huge facility to house the complete system. This will reduce the land requirement and other pollution that will result from building a full-fledged plant.
3. Lockerbie Data Center
Scotland is another place known for having cold climate most of the year. Microsoft Technology partner Alchemy Plus, has proposed to build 20000 square feet data center at the cost of 20 million pound. They envisage that this project will not only answer the cooling costs, but also will open job avenues to thousands of Scottish citizens. This is another of the proposed data center that will make use natural effects.
4. Syracuse University Data Center
Syracuse University along with IBM Corp. have envisaged to build a data center worth $12.4 million, which they claim to be eco-friendly. The data center will be occupied by 12 micro turbines and 8-foot tall generators that run on natural gas, which will run on direct current (DC), instead of alternating current (AC). Each generator will produce 65 megawatts power. Thus the loss due to transmission and rectification is absent. They also plan to use water to cool the server units. If the design is successful, then they will not have to depend on the grids for power requirement.
5. Fluid-submerged Data Center
The Fluid-submerged data center is being developed by Green Revolution Cooling. The technique is to submerge the servers inside a non-conducting, non-toxic, odorless and transparent liquid, having such a high thermal conductivity that it can absorb 90- 95 % of the heat generated, without the use of electrical power. Therefore, this concept also aims at reducing power consumption.
That’s not all. We might see a time in the future when computers contribute positively to the environment. Even right now you can go green by going online. Furthermore, not only there are eco-friendly supercomputers, you would find green versions of average computers too. Grab them and join the movement.