by Laurent Lefèvre and Jean-Marc Pierson

Introduction to the special theme "Towards Green ICT"

Energy concerns have been developing now for several years, and the ICT domain cannot escape from this trend. As the title of this special issue suggests, we have gathered here articles reflecting two aspects of the links between energy and ICT.

by Bernard Aebischer

Technological innovations have wrought many transformations on society. The steam engine opened the way to the industrial society and the aeroplane revolutionized travel. Now, from the telephone to the internet, ICT is putting us on the path to a fully interconnected and radically different world.

by Ulrich Barth, Patty Wong, Didier Bourse

As a leader in telecommunications, Alcatel-Lucent recognizes the important role our industry must play in the global effort to address environmental issues such as climate change. This article highlights some of the corporation’s major research and development initiatives.

by Christina Öhman

The development of new solutions for better energy use often starts with technology rather than the perspective of the user. Researchers at the Interactive Institute in Sweden do the opposite and look at design which supports awareness and behavioural changes – both important factors with high potentials.
Interactive Institute is an experimental IT research institute which combines expertise in art, design and information technology with a user-oriented focus. Several projects in the area of energy and design have generated results that are acknowledged worldwide.

by Andy Phippen

Research at the University of Plymouth has shown encouraging indications that the next generation of IT professionals is willing to take environmental responsibility seriously. With awareness and the opportunity to reflect, it would seem that students are ready and willing to engage with the sustainability agenda. However, the research also highlights the responsibility of higher education institutions to provide a computer science curriculum that addresses more than simply technical and theoretical knowledge.

by Hannes Engelstaedter

The Going Green Impact Tool (GGIT) provides a fast and comprehensive insight into the key environmental and economical aspects of data centres, allowing executives to make faster and better decisions on cost-saving potentials, business continuity and long-term IT strategies. The tool allows different dynamic scenarios to be run, which include simulating various business risks and visualizing the impact of green solutions on energy efficiency, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and business continuity.

by Benedicte Fasmer Waaler

In September 2007, fourteen members of the trade organization ICT Norway joined forces in a project named ‘Green IT’. The goal of this project, which has grown to include 35 members, is to raise awareness of the link between climate change and the use of ICT.
The project is not simply a buzzword that aims to market energy-saving devices. We see IT as a source of CO2 pollution, but also as an opportunity to make large gains. We believe that we must take responsibility for the problems we create if we wish to credibly claim to be ‘part of the solution’.

by Holger Bock Axelsen, Robert Glück, Alexis De Vos and Michael Kirkedal Thomsen

Physics tells us that at the microscopic level the evolution of a (micro-) state is reversible, ie deterministic both forward and backward in time. In contrast, our best models of computation are usually not reversible at the microscopic level, and this carries over to actual implementations in computers. As a consequence of basic thermodynamics, this irreversibility directly contributes to heat dissipation, and therefore power consumption. However, there is nothing inherently irreversible about computation, and using reversible computation models could therefore lead to lowered power consumption. In the new MicroPower project, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen is collaborating with the University of Ghent and the hearing-aid company Oticon, to advance the theory and practice of reversible computing at the language, logic and circuit level.

by Gerhard Ingmar Meijer, Thomas Brunschwiler, Stephan Paredes, and Bruno Michel

'Zero-emission' data centres require 40% less energy than existing data centres, and by using their waste heat for purposes such as space heating their effective carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 85%. Payback for heat and improvements in efficiency can cut energy costs by a factor of two, with a return on investment in under two years.

by Maciej Cytowski, Bartosz Borucki and Maciej Remiszewski

The Nautilus supercomputer is a development system for hybrid computing. It is the result of a deep technology collaboration between IBM and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (ICM) at the University of Warsaw, and is looking at the future of adaptive computing and high-performance computing systems. Nautilus is a testbed for new programming frameworks that will help harness the power and efficiency of next-generation processors and accelerators for a wide variety of scientific applications. Approaching the first anniversary of its initial installation, the system has already made several significant achievements.

by Vincent Keller and Wolfgang Ziegler

Intelligent ApplicatioN-Oriented Scheduling (ÏANOS) is a framework built atop a Grid middleware that uses resources in an energy-efficient manner. ÏANOS selects appropriate resources for a given application, chooses the most energy-efficient one, and turns off the unused parts of the selected resource if not needed.

by Eduard Ayguadé and Jordi Torres

Self-managed middleware should be able to manage resources transparently and cost-effectively, while hiding the underlying complexity from users. Our group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC) and Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) has strengths in a diverse set of research areas, and through cross-disciplinary studies is building middleware that has the additional crucial feature of intelligent power management.

Green Building Blocks - Software Stacks for Energy-Efficient Clusters and Data Centres

by Dimitrios S. Nikolopoulos

The Green Building Blocks (GBB) project is a joint effort between the Computer Architecture and VLSI Laboratory (CARV) of the Institute of Computer Science at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH-ICS), and the Department of Computer Science at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (CS@VT). GBB is a stacked assembly of device drivers, performance monitors, operating system and runtime modules, which interoperate to provide software capabilities for reducing the energy footprint of applications running on clusters and data centres, while sustaining performance near the maximum levels achievable with the hardware at hand.

by Doron Chen, Ronen I. Kat and Kalman Meth

Evaluating the energy consumption of enterprise applications is a fundamental step towards energy efficiency. The total energy cost of an application is the sum of its compute, storage and network energy consumption. We outline a method for estimating the storage part of the application energy cost.

by Roger Kahn, Ronen I. Kat and Carlos Pratt

Modern enterprise storage systems have increasing capacity and a need for increased throughput. Currently up to 40 percent of the energy consumption in data centres is associated with storage systems. One IBM research focus is on energy benchmarks that provide insights into the energy consumption of storage systems; specifically, how the workload performed by the user affects energy consumption.

by Zhen Liu, Alan Kennedy, Olga Ormond and Xiaojun Wang

Building high-performance and power-efficient packet classifiers is important for the success of next-generation networking devices. The Network Processing Group, part of the Network Innovations Centre (NIC) in the Research Institute for Networks and Communications Engineering (RINCE) at Dublin City University (DCU), is devoted to research in this area.

by David Hausheer, University of Zurich, Switzerland

The EcoNets project aims to develop new mechanisms for an economic and energy-efficient bandwidth allocation in future networks. Cooperation and resource sharing combined with new allocation schemes will provide appropriate incentives to provide bandwidth only where and when it is needed.

by Giuseppe Anastasi, Marco Conti and Andrea Passarella

Greening the Internet is becoming a major research topic for the networking community. We are working towards a suite of ‘Green P2P Solutions’ that will drastically reduce the energy footprint of P2P applications.

by Tuan Anh Trinh and Sandor Plosz

In the framework of the AIM project (a novel architecture for modelling, virtualizing and managing the energy consumption of household appliances), an energy management system for the home enviroment is being developed [1]. The challenge is to provide communication between the user, powered devices and the energy management system. The concept of sustainable development states that we are responsible for ensuring that the environment remains as suitable for future generations as it was for us. According to measurements, the ICT industry was responsible for about 2% of global CO2 emissions in 2007, with this value projected to multiply in coming decades (SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy int he information age; A report by The Climate Group on behalf of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), 2008). This issue is in large part related to the energy consumption of the devices and equipment in use. As a result, efficient energy management has recently received much attention from the ICT industry and the academic sphere alike.

by Han La Poutré, Wil Kling and Sjef Cobben

Alternative local energy sources are becoming increasingly popular, creating a new network of small suppliers. Fluctuations in the supply from such sources may cause instability and inefficiency in electricity distribution networks. The IdeaNeD consortium in the Netherlands aims to solve these problems.

by David Pisinger

While the present global climate debate is to a large extent focused on mechanical solutions like electric cars and wind turbines, such technology is expensive and time-consuming to implement. Better IT-based logistics and planning tools with a focus on the environment may be an attractive alternative, since they do not need large investments, are fast to implement, and the underlying techniques are already mature.

Next issue: July 2021
Special theme:
"Privacy-Preserving Computation"
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