Energy savings of 99% over previous methods probably sound like snake oil. But some math geeks have been able to find a way so that computers can use only 1% of the energy (and the time) necessary for some tasks.
IBM has announced a new data-processing algorithm that enables large sets of data to be processed in a fraction of the time, and with only a fraction of the electricity, as was previously needed. Supercomputer testing of the algorithm showed that the process speeded the calculations and reduced the power consumption by two orders of magnitude.
"The new method was tested on the fourth largest supercomputer in the world and what would normally have taken a day, was crunched in 20 minutes. In terms of energy savings, the analysis required 700 kilowatt-hours total, compared with 52800 kilowatt-hours total."
Not only does this mean that far less electricity is needed for data-intensive operations, but also more work will be able to be scheduled onto the same number of machines. And while the demonstration was carried out on a powerful supercomputer, the intent of the research was to make intensive data-processing activities more readily available and accessible to scientists who do not have supercomputers.
image: IBM press release
written by Carl Hage, March 04, 2010
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