Rising energy costs, soaring demand for computing, and the growing urgency of climate change are reshaping IT. The future is no longer governed solely by factors like processing power or storage capacity. Increasingly, it's all about the environment.
Researchers at HP Labs have been pursuing sustainable IT since the early 1990s, both within the data center – including research behind HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling and Data Center Thermal Assessment Services – as well as looking beyond the data center to energy-adaptive displays, better ways to keep chips cool and video conferencing that has the feel of a face-to-face meeting.
Our scientists continue to attack the problem of data center power consumption -- using sophisticated modeling to better provision cooling resources and allocate computing workloads, and developing better ways to manage the entire power equation.
At the same time, we are exploring inexpensive and portable displays that are low power and have the potential to reduce waste. We are searching for a way to measure not just the energy efficiency of IT, but the overall environmental impact of technology over its lifecycle – from design to manufacturing to recycling.
Further in the future, our work in nanotechnology has the potential to transform computing and other industries – enabling instant-on computing systems with fast, low-power, non-volatile memories; providing inexpensive but highly efficient solar cells, and creating a network of ultra low-power sensors that could be used to monitor the environment for more efficient energy use, detect toxins or explosives or even provide better heathcare by monitoring patients more closely.