Sydney Uni files patent on energy-efficient computing

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Sydney Uni files patent on energy-efficient computing

Researchers study more efficient ways of scheduling enterprise workloads.

A group of Sydney academics have filed a patent on an algorithm that can be used to ensure that all IT components within a data centre are running at the most efficient use of power.

The algorithm was developed by a group of ten researchers at Sydney University's Centre for Distributed and High Performance Computing as part of a project to produce a 'holistic approach to energy efficiency' in the data centre.

With the cost and availability of data centre power becoming a key barrier to the growth of enterprise computing, the researchers expected the 'energy-conscious scheduling' algorithm to better enable energy-efficient computing.

Primary researcher Young Choom Lee told iTnews that the algorithm looked at "problem-solving scheduling for heterogeneous computing systems."

This algorithm would be used either within an operating system kernel, as an extension to an operating system kernel, or as separate middleware on enterprise servers.

It would enable system and management tools to profile a given application and dynamically schedule the scale of processor use within servers, routers, switches, hard drives and other computing components to minimise energy use.

"As a workload comes in, the scheduling would decide what resources to allocate - it takes a scheduling approach to balance workloads to be more energy efficient," Lee told iTnews.

Processors, he said, represented 60-70 percent of IT energy use, so the project also aimed to schedule resources across multiple compute elements such as I/O, network drives and other consumers of power.

The group conducted its studies using two server clusters of 10 nodes each, and was looking for industry partners to run real-world experiments.

"We have had great results, but it has mostly been simulation studies so far," Lee said. "We would like to implement it in real systems before we decide how best to commercialise this. It definitely has great potential."

Lee said that if all went well, the technology could be used within enterprise IT products by the end of 2011.

Young Choom Lee is a speaker at the DC Strategics conference in Sydney on August 13, where he will discuss the project in greater detail.

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