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Green Supercomputing

As with many “green” initiatives, “green computing” also is on the rise. Internationally renowned for his expertise in the field, University of Houston professor S. Lennart Johnsson will be giving the keynote address at the International Green Computing Conference today in Chicago.

Green computing refers to environmentally sustainable computing, involving the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using and disposing of computers, servers and their components with minimal impact to the environment. Goals include reducing the use of hazardous materials, maximizing energy efficiency during a product’s lifetime and promoting recyclability and biodegradability once the products become defunct.

Johnsson is a champion of green computing, as evidenced by his recent collaboration with industry leaders AMD and Supermicro to develop the Supermicro 4P blade, an energy-efficient hardware solution for high-performance computers (HPC). His involvement in HPC spans four decades, and he currently is a Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor in computer science, mathematics and electrical and computer engineering, as well as director of the Texas Learning & Computation Center (TLC2) at University of Houston.

“Supercomputing involves exceptionally powerful computers traditionally used for solving fundamental physics, chemistry and large-scale engineering problems,” Johnsson said. “Advanced computing platforms and applications yield safer, better-performing and more fuel-efficient cars and planes and facilitate the development and testing of life-saving medicines. They also provide the opportunity to push the boundaries of science to discover properties of materials and fluids that can lead to new products, in turn leading to new industries, new treatments for diseases and improved conditions for humanity as a whole.”The conference, sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society, addresses key topics related to energy efficiency in computing and promoting environmentally friendly technologies. Numerous aspects of green computing will be addressed, including energy-efficient use of computers, hardware and software systems, algorithms, applications, and power, energy and temperature-related research. Other topics include how to reduce the carbon footprint of computing and how computers can contribute positively to the well-being of the planet.

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