Oxford University launches low carbon computing project - Embedded.com

Oxford University launches low carbon computing project

LONDON — Oxford University is setting up an energy saving research project for green computing aiming to develop software which is easy to download and free of charge, to make networked computers more energy-efficient and thereby reduce carbon emissions.

An 18-month pilot scheme to enable Oxford University’s own departments and colleges adopt greener computing practices will provide a test-bed for energy saving technology across all operating systems. The researchers will monitor not only the reduction in energy usage, but will also measure its success in cutting costs.

“Current power management capabilities are limited to decisions on whether the system is being used, either locally or remotely. Within a research organisation such as Oxford University, computers can often be used in very non-traditional ways, making the basis on the decision to take a machine into the standby state much more complicated,” said the technical architect of the project, Dr David Wallom from the Oxford e-Research Centre. “The advanced system we are developing will remove this barrier: allowing the user, their departmental IT officer and the University, greater flexibility and control in running an energy-saving system.”

The project director Howard Noble, from Oxford University’s Computing Services, added “This project is an important part of the jigsaw in terms of building efficient ICT systems across the University.”

The pilot scheme is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), a government agency set up to support the innovative use of ICT in research and education institutions.

The project will be launched on March 19 at a conference entitled ‘Towards Low Carbon ICT’ at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. The Low Carbon ICT conference will help the project team and delegates gain a better understanding of the wider range of issues associated with getting the most out of existing infrastructure, and building and maintaining efficient desktop and data centre systems for the future.’

Specialists from universities and businesses throughout the UK will attend the conference to share expertise on how the educational sector can reduce the environmental impact of its ICT infrastructures.

Key speakers at the conference include Dr. Nick Eyre Jackson, senior research fellow at Oriel College, Oxford University; Dr. Peter Waggett, manager of Emerging Technology at IBM's Hursley Laboratory; Dr. Zafar Chaudry, director ICT at Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust; Martin Chilcott, founder and CEO of Meltwater Ventures; Liam Newcombe, of the British Computer Society Data Centre Specialist Group; and Juergen Heidegger, director ICT Infrastructure Products at Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

A 'Beta candidate' release of the Low Carbon computing toolbox will be available in June 2008.

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