Scientists in Germany are saying today they’ve developed a system that substantially reduces the energy consumption for processing huge amounts of data. This system, which set a new world power efficiency record around the sort benchmark standard published by companies like HP and Microsoft, was reportedly based not around server processors with high power requirements, but instead Intel Atom ones originally developed for netbooks.
German scientists Prof. Ulrich Meyer of Frankfurt´s Goethe University and Prof. Peter Sanders from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) teamed on this project, leading a group of researchers including Ph.D. candidates Johannes Singler (KIT) and Andreas Beckmann (Goethe University) that made use of solid state disks (SSD) instead of hard drives in order to consume less power and access data quicker. The Intel Atom processors used as well, since of lower processing power compared to server systems, were tied to “the usage of highly efficient algorithms,” according to Ulrich. The data processed in three categories related to a competition around the sort benchmark were in the amounts of 10GB, 100GB and 1TB, respectively, consisting of datasets with 100 Byte each.
Ulrich said in a press release that “even in the largest category of 1 Terabyte, which corresponds to a stack of paper of 10km height, the new record holders only spent 0,2 kWh. This is about the energy needed to boil 2 liters of water.” The previous record, held by people from Stanford University, was beaten in power efficiency “by a factor of three to four.” It is said that the starting point for this research project was “one of the key problems in computer science, namely sorting of data” and that in order to “enable analysis of the data,” especially around that generated on the Internet, “it has to be sorted according to a specific criterion first. The efficient sorting of data is thus of central interest for search engines and databases – and therefore an important research topic in both theoretical and practical computer science.”
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