Responsible computing

Quantifying and reducing our carbon footprint

Our challenge

Climate change is a defining challenge of our time. As our world is becoming increasingly digitalised, the ever-growing volume of data and need for computing is driving significant global growth of data centers. According to one report, data centers will consume from 3–13% of global electricity in 2030 (compared to 1% in 2010).

At the same time, businesses of all types are increasingly seeking to understand, quantify, and improve their carbon footprint—either in response to regulations, out of a sense of corporate responsibility, or due to the increased demand for climate impact awareness from their customers. As more and more operations are digitalised, this carbon footprint is increasingly impacted by the energy consumption of IT workloads in data centers.

Reducing our carbon footprint

IBM Research – Australia is working with our global teams to quantify, model and reduce the carbon footprint of workloads in data centers. Doing this thoroughly is far from trivial, as many different factors impact the energy consumed by a workload. These include:

  • the type of workload, such as compute task, type of language, type of database;
  • the hardware it runs on, as well as any impacts of virtualisation or utilisation levels;
  • the infrastructure of the data center, including cooling and auxiliary energy demand;
  • the energy required for communicating data between different locations;
  • the generation mix that is ultimately used to enable the workload.

By applying advanced modelling and AI-based forecasting, we aim to develop sophisticated techniques to optimally schedule and run workloads on data centers, enabling a faster transition to a renewables-powered digital economy for ourselves and our clients.

Our team

Ramachandra Rao Kolluri
Ramachandra Rao Kolluri

IBM Research Scientist

Fatemeh Jalali
Fatemeh Jalali

IBM Research Scientist

Andrew Rawlinson
Andrew Rawlinson

IBM Research Scientist

Peter Ilfrich
Peter Ilfrich

Software Engineer

Hamideh Anjomshoa
Hamideh Anjomshoa

IBM Research Scientist

Sue Ann Chen
Sue Ann Chen

IBM Research Scientist

Maneesha Perera
Maneesha Perera

PhD Student

Julian de Hoog
Julian de Hoog

IBM Research Scientist

Arun Vishwanath
Arun Vishwanath

IBM Senior Research Scientist