Argonne National Laboratory

Podcast with Pete Beckman: How to Make Computing Green

July 14, 2009

Is energy use in IT even big enough to matter? What about HPC? In the second episode of the Green HPC podcast series we put those questions to our guests, talk them about the primary drivers for the adoption of energy aware ("green") computing practices in IT at large, and then home in on HPC and how the customers, workloads, and solutions differ between the two.

In this episode we start off by hearing from Pat Tiernan of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. The EPA's estimates of all energy use for information and communications technology in the US is only about 1.5% of the nation's total consumption/ Tiernan explains why that small number is big enough to matter today, and he talks about the regulatory inevitabilities that are going to make energy use in computing a big deal tomorrow.

Pete Beckman of Argonne National Laboratory's Leadership Computing Facility gives us his response to my challenge that, if IT's 1.5% slice of the total energy use pie is small, HPC's slice is minuscule and should be under everyone's radar. Beckman argues against that point of view, and points toward the technology trickle down that will multiply investments in green HPC into IT in general.

Next up are Steve Cumings and Ed Turkel of HP, a company that figures prominently in both the enterprise and supercomputing markets, about the differences in the motivations and behaviors of the two sets of customers and why the green technologies they each adopt tend to be very different.

Despite the very practical motivations HPC practitioners have for managing and reducing energy use, adoption in our community has been slow. This episode of the series closes out with Microsoft's Christian Belady talking about the factors that will accelerate the adoption of green technologies in our community.