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Energy-efficient computing pioneer is newest HP Fellow

Chandrakant Patel founded HP "Cool Team," charted directions in thermal management


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Oct. 2006 -- Chandrakant Patel, a scientist who intiated HP's groundbreaking research in chips, systems and data-center thermal and energy management, has been named an HP Fellow, an honor reserved for only the company's most extraordinatory technical contributors.

Patel played a key role in establishing HP's leadership in energy-efficient computing by founding HP Labs' thermal technology research program in the early 1990s, and subsequently the data-center architecture program. He foresaw the thermal-management challenges associated with high power density due to miniaturization in semiconductor technologies, and the need to manage energy as a key resource as enterprise IT system resources became increasingly connected and shared.

Patel's work has been incorporated into HP products and services, including its Adaptive Infrastructure offerings, and also used by HP to manage its own information technology infrastructure.

"Chandrakant is an extraordinary contributor whose impact has shaped HP and its position in the industry," said Dick Lampman, HP Labs director and senior vice president for research, HP. "His work is recognized by both the mechanical and electrical engineering communities, by industry analysts, industry and business press, partners and over 100 customers."

New approach to power and cooling

Patel, who joined HP Labs in 1991, pioneered a holistic approach to power and cooling that encompasses everything from chips to systems to racks to the data center itself. With partners in HP's product R&D groups, he started a virtual thermal community known as the HP Cool team, which is dedicated to thermal management of chips, systems and data centers.

Through the 1990s, he charted the directions in thermal management that led to creation of an innovative portfolio of chip and system cooling solutions for the HP Cool Team. In late 1990s, he argued for the need to examine data center power and cooling as closely as the computer, a philosophy he described as "the data center is the computer." This became HP's Smart Data Center project.

Working first in the HP Labs data center, then with the University of California at Berkeley and HP team members from sites in India, Puerto Rico, and across the United States, Patel developed the computational fluid modeling of data centers, the new metric of Exergy or available energy (MIPS/Exergy destroyed), a network of sensors and actuators in the data center and the elements of a dynamic control system to manage total cost-of-ownership of an IT infrastructure.

Patel's success builds on his technical expertise in thermo and fluid dynamics, structures and system design. Although his recent work has centered on chips to data centers, the technology and methods are also being applied to consumer systems.

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» Feature story: New ways to keep cool
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