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Energy-aware computing

In an invited talk, researcher describes vision for reducing energy use in everything from chips to data centers

December 2003

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Keynote talk: A Vision of Energy-Aware Computing from Chips to Data Centers
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Chandrakant Patel, HP Labs

Hitachi Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory
Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, International Symposium on Micro-Mechanical Engineering,
Tsuchiura, Japan, December 1-3, 2003

Introduction: In the computing utility of the future, attention to energy consumption will be of paramount importance. This talk introduces a holistic energy-aware computing approach, from chips to data centers, that minimizes destruction of exergy or available energy by keeping the heat loads in balance with available cooling resources. At chip level, use of micromechanical spray jets that are in balance with heat loads are proposed. At data center level, a "smart" data center that provisions the cooling and the workloads dynamically to maintain a balanced use of energy is proposed. The talk concludes with proposal to quantify computing performance in terms of exergy or available energy destroyed, i.e. MIPS per exergy (watts) destroyed.

Abstract: The miniaturization of silicon devices and the integration of functionalities on a single chip has resulted in high power density chips, systems and data centers. The increase in power density in all these three areas necessitates a holistic examination - following the path of the heat flux from the chip, through the system enclosure to the room and out to the environment.

Furthermore, computing has become pervasive and will soon account for a large portion of global energy use, particularly with respect to distribution of high power data centers around the world.

In this context, future thermo-mechanical solutions have two clear objectives -- to facilitate effective heat transfer from high power density chips and systems in order to maintain specified temperature on the device, and to facilitate the heat removal efficiently by minimizing the energy used to remove the dissipated heat.

Energy management plays a lead role in data centers -- machine rooms that aggregate hundreds of computers to provide useful computing services and can reach 10 MW of power dissipation from the hardware.

In high power density chips, heat transfer solutions that maintain specified chip temperature while minimizing the energy used to affect the thermal management play a central role. This paper examines an energy-aware thermal management approach, from chips to data centers, and proposes second law analysis as a measure of overall management of energy consumption.


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