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Recycling Aside, What’s Next?: The Road to Sustainable Computing

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How do you ensure sustainability in computing, especially for the software aspect you cannot physically recycle? 

In this InTechnology video, Tom and Camille talk with Dr. Tamar Eilam, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist in Sustainable Computing. They cover the trends moving sustainability in computing, the industry’s standpoint on sustainable computing for hardware and software, and how to use technology for climate change.  

Sustainability in Computing: The Tiny Things that Leave a Big Footprint

To understand how computing impacts sustainability, there are three major trends to consider. The first is exponential data and its transfer. Think of activities like Zoom calls, video games, and the accompanying data transfer. These activities contribute to energy emissions and increase our carbon footprint. 

The second trend deals with emerging workloads like artificial intelligence that consume a lot of energy. Finally, there’s the flattening of Moore’s law which means that we cannot expect efficiency improvements from computing chips as we used to get every two years. 

Ultimately, these trends increase emissions and power consumption in computing at a faster rate than the energy we’re producing. Thus, we need more efficient computing for sustainability. 


Sustainability in Computing: The Industry Standpoint Today and the Way Forward 

Where are we at in sustainability for computing today? The answer to this question lies in weighing two core parts: the hardware and the software aspect. For years, hardware components are built with sustainability in mind. Chips are smaller and more energy-efficient. 

However, when it comes to software, we’re barely scratching the surface. Some ways we can do better include creating efficient algorithms that consume less energy, placing data and compute resources in one location for deployment, and dynamically adjusting container sizes to improve efficiency.  


Technological Advancement Rather than Reversal = The Answer to Sustainability in Computing and Beyond

We can’t undo the industrial revolution. What we can do instead is to use technology to transform key areas for sustainability. For instance, consider renewable energy. As we know, it is dynamic and unpredictable. Cloudy days mean less solar energy. Less windy days mean less wind energy. 

But if we can couple it with cloud computing, we can move workloads to different regions that have more renewable energy at certain times of the day. You don’t need to move physical structures like hospitals and their patients. You only need to move the workload. This potential is what technology offers.


Dr. Tamar Eilam: The Sustainability in Computing Expert

Dr. Tamar Eilam, the Sustainable Computing ExpertDr. Tamar Eilam is an IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist in Sustainable Computing. She has been at IBM Research since 2000. With an incredible experience spanning over 20 years, she is an expert in pioneering disruptive technology and forming the foundations for new areas. She is passionate about sustainability and applying innovation to address the biggest problems humanity face today. 

View Dr. Tamar’s LinkedIn page




#sustainability #computing #sustainablecomputing 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the guests and author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Intel Corporation.


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