The initiatives focus on data centre power efficiency, power management and the creation of parallel computing architectures with decreased energy demands.
The idea is to stimulate research across a broad range of areas with the potential significantly to improve energy efficiency.
Microsoft External Research said that a single 100-watt incandescent light bulb left on for a year costs more than US$80 to power and releases 1,350 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
This is roughly the same amount of power that an idle PC uses in that same time, and the company said that finding ways to lessen humankind's impact on the environment is critical.
"We want to open new avenues of research and raise the awareness of power as a critical resource that needs to be managed," said Sailesh Chutani, senior director of Microsoft External Research.
"Through this programme, we are encouraging novel thinking about how to reduce that power consumption and how to make technology more environmentally friendly in the future."
Microsoft's Sustainable Computing Program explores two main areas of research that can have a major impact.
The first is the principle of 'pay for play'. This is the idea that the power consumed by a computing device should be proportional to the demand placed on it, lowering the amount of energy consumed at low load and when idle.
Secondly, energy efficiency, even at peak loads, is equally important in reducing overall consumption and should be managed as a first-class resource.
"We applaud the efforts of these academic researchers to develop innovative technologies to reduce energy usage and lessen the impact on the environment," said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft.
"Microsoft believes in the potential of software to help create a more sustainable environment.
"The Sustainable Computing Program is just one example of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to help businesses and consumers drive change through energy efficiency."
Microsoft champions green computing
By Clement James on Apr 30, 2008 3:15PM