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Putting More Cores to Work in Server Farms

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Credit: I Know This Now

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) researchers, working in the EcoCloud research center, have found that reorganizing the inner architecture of the processors used in massive data processing centers can result in significant energy savings.

Massive data installations, such as social networks, online games and services, and databases are responsible for 2 percent of the total world energy consumption, according to industry estimates. By integrating the same kind of processor cores that are used in smartphones, the amount of energy needed can be reduced by a factor of four, according to the EPFL researchers. The technique, known as scale-out processors, involves a reorganization and redesign of the processors used in the servers. Instead of the current design based on a few, very powerful processor cores, the new approach would use a greater number of less powerful cores, enabling each processor to respond to a larger number of requests. Concentrated in significant numbers in a large chip, the cores would deliver a better solution to the way servers are currently used.

"Current servers are . . . actually way too powerful for most basic demands," says the Parallel Systems Architecture Laboratory's Boris Grot. "As a result, they're not being used in an optimal manner."

From Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
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