The essay sample on What Techniques Are Involved In Green Computing dwells on its problems, providing a shortened but comprehensive overview of basic facts and arguments related to it. To read the essay, scroll down.
Green computing can be thought of as an environmentally conscious effort to make long-term computing sustainable by using energy efficient methods. The goals of green computing are similar to those of green chemistry, which try to minimize hazardous material use, maximize efficiency and enhance recyclability. Yet all this extra effort put into designs has a negative impact on system throughput. Therefore the question is posed, is the extra overhead involved in designing superior data centers, optimizing software algorithms, improving power management and recycling materials worth the benefits in the field of green computing?
I believe they are as we are slowly running out of resources. Yet others take a stance that this will negatively affect system performance while computers are only a small percentage of the problem compared to vehicles which should be addressed first. Generally, data centers have an energy density of 100 to 200 an equally sized office building. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) Although most datacenters have a small design window which prevents new ideas for being used in favor of proven methods, taking the time to select a more efficient design can help immensely with the long term operating cost.
U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) As IT loads account for around half the facilities energy consumption, choosing more expensive high efficiency machines will help reduce the necessary cooling and operating cost. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) Rack mounted servers are usually underutilized running around 20% of their working capacity yet consuming close to the full running energy. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) The Energy Star helps distinct regular servers from a high-efficiency machine; they will on average be 30% more efficient. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011)
What Techniques Are Involved In Green Computing?
Power management which is referred to as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is used by manufacturers to allow software to interface with the underlying hardware and alter the power settings. This system allows the computer to go into sleep, hibernate and power off monitors. The processor’s power management techniques such as Intel’s ”SpeedStep” and AMD’s “Cool’n’Quite” allow the clock speed to be altered to different predefined states (known as P-states) which decease power consumption at the expense of speed during periods of low activity.
It is generally advisable to run tasks in blocks and turn off systems after to extend component life. (Roy & Bag) Power management can possibly cause system failure, yet that must be assessed against the energy savings it can provide in non-mission critical applications. Multi-core processors allow significant energy savings on both the processing end and on the cooling end if the software is capable of taking advantage of the hardware. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) Multi-threaded applications are become common with the advances in hardware, as more programmers focus on making more efficient programs it will be viable to upgrade older hardware for newer systems. An industry leader in server processors Sun Microsystems is focusing on multi-core chips for the future. (Roy & Bag)
The Niagara 1, Ultrasparc 1 has an average 60 watt power consumption while running 32 threads, while the Niagara 2 will have 64 threads at 80 watts of power. Roy & Bag) The power savings compared to an Intel Pentium 4 with 2 threads consuming 89 to 103 watts clearly show the improvement in technology. (Intel Pentium 4 3. 4 GHz – RK80546PG0961M (BX80546PG3400E)) Providing one power supply per server rack instead of one per server can offer savings around $2,000 to $6,000 per rack, these estimates take into consider the cooling system and interruptible power supplies. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) Blade servers are the key in this field.
Blade servers are space and energy conscious design that allows common components such as power supplies and the cooling system to be common to a set of machines. Although they require an initial investment of the blade enclosure and compatible blade modules which are proprietary to each manufacturer the savings are considered to be worth it. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011) Virtualization allows multiple independent operating systems to run on a single physical computer via the use of a hypervisor. (U. S.
Department of Energy, 2011) Virtualization permits better use of hardware, instead of running multiple servers at a low utilization state, it is possible to run multiple “guest” operating systems on a virtualization cluster which can significantly decrease the required hardware. Although the hardware needs to super support hardware assisted virtualization, many free open source solutions exist for the hypervisor. However some overhead is required to run the hypervisor that controls the guest operating systems, it is trivial compared to the energy savings. (U. S. Department of Energy, 2011)
The efficiency of an algorithm has a significant effect on the resources it consumes, be it CPU time or memory, this is called the space-time tradeoff. Linear search algorithms have always been considered to be slower than indexed searches. Although an index table must be maintained, the efficiency gains on a large scale operation can become substantial for only a few more lines of code. Loop unwinding is a common technique to optimize programs for speed, when programs are written in a space saving mindset; loops are used to make code smaller.
When optimized for speed, some unrolled loops will allow for multiple parts to be executed in parallel making better use of processing power. Storage space increases exponentially cheaper than processing power the cost in space can be considered minimal. Extending the life of hardware devices from a 3 year window can save considerably as most of the energy is spent on manufacturing. (Earth Care Tech, 2012) Recycling of computers by donating them to charities and non-profit organizations will help lengthen the life of devices with no cost to the end-user.
On the other hand, taking the device to a recycling center where it can be properly dismantled and have the materials re-used can save harmful materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury from ending up in landfills. Experts say computers sometimes contain 4 to 8 pounds of lead. (Roy & Bag) For printers, investing in long-life printer drums reduces e-waste for a small increase in the purchase price while inkjets can have their cartridges refill for a fraction of the cost of buying a new cartridge.