Desktop computers, both in the home and at work, are one form of huge energy drain daily if you leave them on. That being said, there are times, such as when you are running peer-to-peer networks, where you always to leave them on. What is an easy solution for leaving a computer running and active, but in such a low energy usage mode that what power is used is almost negligible? One answer comes in the form of new energy management software from computer scientists at University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Scientists at UCSD have developed what they call SleepServer software. This application is said to be able to reduce energy consumption on enterprise PCs previously running 24/7 by an average of 60 percent. It does this, according to the university, by creating “lightweight virtual images of sleeping PCs” that maintain connectivity and respond to applications, such as Voice over IP, instant messaging, and peer-to-peer services.” They call this “sleep-working.”

image via UCSD

Each of these virtual PC images can furthermore “enable remote access to the sleeping PC it represents via protocols such as Remote Desktop, VNC and encrypted connections using SSH.” SleepServer is said to be highly scalable and something which can be run cross platform. The software developers, who recently won a San Diego Clean Tech Innovation and Commercialization grant, are currently deploying the software across the approximately 1,000 PCs in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Future plans include deployment across the full UCSD campus, followed later on perhaps by development of a personal use application.

“Reducing the electricity required to run our information technology infrastructure is an absolute must, and our SleepServer technology is an important step in this direction,” said Yuvraj Agarwal, the UC San Diego Research Scientist in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering who developed SleepServer, in a statement. “Our goal with SleepServer is to help buildings with heavy IT-loads reach net-zero energy use – so that these buildings effectively become carbon neutral by generating as much renewable energy as they consume.”

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