DateApr. 15, 2009
Speaker Larry Smarr (University of California, San Diego)
TopicCan A Greener Internet Help Us Moderate Climate Change?
Abstract: This year marks a turning point in the debate on global climate change. The focus of the discussion is rapidly moving from a scientific analysis of how human activity effects climate change to a political process on how best to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Group's Smart 2020 study reveals that the global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry produces greenhouse gases equivalent to that produced by the aviation industry (~2-3 percent). Furthermore, the ICT sector's emissions will nearly triple, in a business-as-usual scenario, from 2002 to 2020. On the other hand, the Climate Group estimates that transformative applications of ICT to electricity grids, logistic chains, intelligent transportation and building infrastructure, and other social systems can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent-- five times ICT's own footprint! I will discuss initiatives on university campuses in the US and Australia to innovate new solutions to these challenges. I will describe in detail the NSF-funded GreenLight Project at UCSD which instruments an 8-rack modular data center, allowing end users to discover the energy cost of computational solving an application using different algorithms and/or different computing architectures.

Larry Smarr is the founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and Harry E. Gruber Professor in the Jacobs School Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD.