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An inter-disciplinary team from Penn State receives $1 million grant from NSF to reduce datacenter power costs

An inter-disciplinary team from Penn State receives $1 million grant from NSF to reduce datacenter power costs

Photo credit: Chris Burns

The three-year research project is led by Anand Sivasubramaniam, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), who is a pioneer in the area of datacenter power management, and includes Hosam Fathy, assistant professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (MNE), and Bhuvan Urgaonkar, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.

Datacenters are power guzzlers, already accounting for 2 percent of the world’s electricity consumption, and 1.5 percent of the global carbon footprint, whose numbers continue to grow at a rapid pace with the increasing reliance of information technology and internet services.  A single datacenter at Microsoft, Google, or Facebook can consume more than 20 megawatts of power, incurring several millions of dollars for provisioning the power infrastructure and paying the monthly electricity bills. All such datacenter operators are looking to cut power related costs.  Professors Sivasubramaniam and Urgaonkar have made several prior contributions to reducing the power demand of these internet datacenters and cloud service providers.

"In this new project, with an inter-disciplinary expertise spanning computer systems and energy storage  across the CSE and MNE departments, we are in a unique position to explore novel ways of modulating datacenter power demand using energy storage technologies" says Prof. Sivasubramaniam. "Energy storage is already being deployed in datacenters today for providing temporary power during outages, and this project looks to extend their usage for controlling the power demand from the grid. Such control can be useful to under-provision the power infrastructure and reduce power demands during high tariff periods. It can also smoothen the supply vagaries associated with renewable energy sources, which are becoming increasingly popular for datacenters."

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