Systems via Flickr
Almost two months back, I wrote
about a competition on how to use Grid Computing for a greener planet. Now they
have announced the winners of this competition and I thought I will share the
results in this space. The competition was supported by Microsoft, Intellect,
The British Computer Society (BCS), The 451 Group, Memset, the National
e-Science Centre (NeSC), Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), WWF, and The
Technology Strategy Board.
The prize for the Non-Professional Track was awarded to Christos Melissidis,
an MSc student from Cranfield University. His concept is a simulation of our
ecosystem. Melissidis wants to create a virtual ecosystem in order to solve
environmental problems. The idea is to feed real time data derived from various
data sources, such as the weather channel, into the virtual ecosystem while
measuring its response.
The prize for the Professional Track was awarded to Nick Pringle, an IT
consultant and part-time PhD student from Glamorgan University, for his
predictive traffic flow model. His solution would involve enhancing existing GPS
information by submitting individual route information to a grid computing
system, which would calculate a journey time based on how many other people
would be choosing to take the same route at the same time. This has the
potential to reduce time spent in traffic jams and carbon emissions.
Congratulations to both the winners and I will use the news about this
competition to once again highlight the fact that Cloud Computing, the next
iteration to Grid Computing, plays a major role in our quest for a greener
planet. This is definitely not one of those green hype used to market products.
Cloud Computing definitely saves considerable amount of energy through server
virtualization and its utility nature.
A server uses up certain amount of energy irrespective of whether it is used
to its full capacity or just 1% of its capacity. By virtualizing a server, we
are having a maximum utilization for the energy spent in running the hardware. Plus, server virtualization also leads to lesser number of hardware used. The cost savings associated with the virtualization is considerable and it also
helps to protect the planet. The utility nature of Cloud Computing means that
the resources are switched on and off based on the usage. Unlike the traditional
hosting methods, the servers are not running 24/7 irrespective of whether they
are utilized or not. This also helps save considerable amount of energy
resulting in lower energy costs and a greener planet. Big companies like Google,
Microsoft and others are spending quite a bit of money on how they can minimize
the energy usage to run their computing resources. This includes datacenters on
the ocean, tapping into its vast water resources, and in places like Iceland,
tapping into the geothermal energy from the volcanic eruptions.
IBM maintains that cloud computing, if implemented properly, can save businesses up to 60% on cooling and energy costs because it reduces the amount of pricey hardware they need to maintain in-house. It can also reduce server footprints by as much as 60%, according to the company.
Doesn’t it make complete sense to adapt Cloud Computing with all the cost
savings, better computing capabilities and a chance to protect our planet?
Anyhow, good luck to the winners of the competition in their pursuit of
prototyping their ideas. I hope that technologies like Grid Computing and Cloud
Computing are also put to good use in order to understand and solve the Global
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