Big Blue tries to lower consumption costs

IBM has announced a research program to develop technologies that could help solve power consumption issues and help reduce cooling and power supply costs for IT infrastructures.

In line with this announcement, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will support IBM’s Center for Low-Power Computing as part of its Power-Aware Computing and Communications (PACC) program.

This effort is part of an industry-government initiative to produce technology for energy efficient systems. As the IT industry expands, the energy used for cooling and power supply has continued to rise, increasing costs for consumers while at the same time creating technological, environmental and security problems.

A 1994 U.S. Department of Energy study estimated that 10 per cent of energy consumed in North America is used to support IT systems, which are contributing to a major toll on global warming.

Under the agreement with DARPA, IBM will perform research on reliable, power-aware systems and develop new technology for energy-efficient and high-performing computing platforms. The results of the research will be prototyped in 2003 for some military applications by BEA Systems and used by IBM internally.

In October 2001, IBM established a Low Power Center in the Austin, Tex.-based IBM Research Lab to address the energy consumption of technology. The Lab focused on aspects of low-power computing, ranging from device technology to applications.

The IBM low power program recently announced is the latest addition to other projects sponsored by DARPA. In the 1980s, IBM worked with DARPA’s RP3 project – or parallel computing, as it is commonly known.

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