Google Reduces Its Cost Of Cooling By 40% Thanks To An Algorithm

Datacenter. Image: Oleksiy Mark Shutterstock

Google has given control of the cooling of its data centers to Artificial Intelligence. For the first time, Google relies on an algorithm to manage part of its infrastructure.

The electricity consumption of data centers has become a big problem for the technology industry in general. A 2016 report from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory stated that data centers in the US alone consumed about 70 billion kilowatt-hours in 2014, almost 1.8% of the total. consumption of the whole country.

Google has been testing an algorithm for years that learns how to make cooling systems – fans, ventilation, and other equipment – more efficient to reduce power consumption. Until now, the system made recommendations to data center administrators, who decided whether to implement them or not, which translated into energy savings of around 40% in those cooling systems.

Now, Google has given full control to the algorithm, which manages cooling in several of its data centers autonomously.

“This is the first time an autonomous industrial control system has been deployed on this scale, ” says Mustafa Suleyman, head of artificial intelligence at DeepMind, the London-based artificial intelligence company acquired in 2014 by Google.

This project shows us the great potential that AI has to manage infrastructure. Although the algorithm works independently, one person manages it and can intervene if the system does something that is not considered appropriate.

The algorithm uses trial and error to learn. The system allows you to determine which cooling settings would reduce energy consumption. The system could generate millions of dollars in energy savings and could help Google and other companies reduce their carbon emissions, says Joe Kava, Google’s vice president of data centers.

This new system incorporates safety controls to prevent you from doing anything that has an adverse effect on the cooling system. A data center administrator monitors the system and intervenes if he thinks he is doing something inappropriate.

The effort to improve the energy efficiency of these data centers has been very great. And the results affirm that efficiency is holding back the increase in power consumption in new data centers.

Although the news is very good,  cooling only accounts for 10% of consumption, so the next goal is to optimize the performance of the power-hungry server chips. The savings possibilities in this branch are up to ten times greater than in refrigeration.

Remember that Google works 100% with renewable energy since last year.

Hopefully this technology can soon be applied to other types of installations by many other companies. The global electricity savings would be considerable. And remember, the greenest energy is the one that is not consumed.

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