A Quick Guide To Green Computing

[Part 1 of 2]

Let’s talk about 150 years from now when there are possibly no fossil fuels left given the rise of the human population and their ever-increasing needs and demands, consumption is a wildfire and fossil fuel is the forest that it has taken over. In today’s date, most of the electricity is generated using fossil fuels and the way digitalization is spreading there is an always increasing demand.

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Though with the advancement in science and technology I’m certain that humankind will solve the problem but what if we are too late. Electricity is just one variable in this equation when you think about other sectors (example industrial, transportation) there’s far more energy consumed using fossil fuels.

We are surrounded by computers everywhere, and almost any industry that first comes to your mind is and will always be using a significant amount of computing, especially the IT industry. Any operation carried out in business these days would need some amount of energy to operate whether it is sending an email or running a computer program. But this is just the tiny amount of power that could be counted negligible if we were to compare it to any data center that’s crunching crazy amount of energy every second.

Industries have started following the Green Computing path which is practicing sustainable computing and IT which started in the early 1990s when the US Environmental Protection Agency first launched the energy star which was designed to promote the saving and smart usage of energy in monitors and other technologies.

There are different approaches being taken to sustain the computing energy and making the best use of energy:

  • Data centers — 1.5% of total world energy use in 2010, 21% of consumption in the IT sector(382 billion kWh a year) Bringing efficiency using techniques like storage consolidation and virtualization. Improved data centers design with more focus on environmental conditions, air management, and cooling systems,
  • Software efficiencies — Space and memory Optimization (Big O). Using a quicker and efficient algorithm(indexed and hashed instead of linear) could reduce the resources used for a specific task. Average Google search releases 0.2 grams of CO2
  • Cloud computing — helps to face the challenges of resource consumption and energy usage. Allows using the cloud resources from the location where electricity is easily available or cheap
  • Display — OLEDs use less energy and better for battery life.
  • Operating System Power Management — Operating systems these days have a smart power management system that can shut the power supply to any of the hardware if its in the ideal state which makes the battery last longer or they come with battery saver mode to control the energy usage by underlying hardware.
  • Storage devices — SSDs store the data in the flash memory (DRAM) which doesn’t have any moving parts unlike the HDDs and therefore are more energy-efficient.

With the advancement in Computer Science and upcoming trends in Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Data Science and Blockchain it's quite a challenging time to completely transit into Computer-Human formed society acknowledging the facts of the fossil fuel deficiency and also advancing in sustainable and eco-friendly computing at the same time.

We’ll talk a little bit more about how sustainable and environmentally responsible thinking is being adapted in assets and fund based industries in the next chapter. Thanks and stay tuned ;)

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