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Energy Efficiency

H.P., Intel to build world’s most energy-efficient supercomputer at D.O.E. lab

Hewlett-Packard and Intel will work to build the “world’s most energy-efficient supercomputer” in Colorado for the United States Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Making use of their companies’ innovations, the machine will use warm water to cool the servers even while running at peta-scale computing ability, or at 1 million billion calculations per second.

“The new system will greatly expand NREL’s modeling and simulation capabilities, including advancing materials research and developing a deeper understanding of what biological and chemical processes,” said NREL.

The NREL can maximize heat generated by the supercomputer by reusing it as the primary heat source in the Energy Systems Integration Facility offices and spaces. Meanwhile, excess heat will not go into waste as it can be exported to adjacent buildings and other areas of the laboratory campus.

As a whole, the efficiency of the data center, the energy efficiency features of the high-performance computer, and its ability to reuse heat combine to slash overall energy consumption, according to NREL.

The $10 million supercomputer is expected to generate significant energy savings and prevent high costs through the efficiency retrofits.

"NREL needed a system that would deliver on their commitment to energy efficiency while achieving the highest levels of performance for their researchers," said Scott Misage, H.P.C. director at H.P.

The supercomputer will come in two phases, with the initial installation of servers to take place this November and completion by the summer of 2013.

Energy use has been a critical issue among data centers, leading to numerous efforts to cut large consumption.

The industry is more and more cognizant of the amount of energy being used in our nation’s data centers. [The] new H.P.C. data center will set the standard for sustainable and energy efficient computing,” said NREL Computational Science Center director Steve Hammond.

“Research on renewable energy and new energy sources are the areas that are aimed to address humanity’s biggest challenges and will impact literally everyone on the globe,” said Stephen Wheat, general manager of High Performance Computing at Intel. – C. Dominguez

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