According to Science Daily, some Danish researchers can significantly reduce the resource consumption of the world’s computer servers. The internet usage has its impact on climate due to the massive amount of electricity consumed by computer servers.
Professor Mikkel Thorup, University of Copenhagen, was among a group of researchers behind an algorithm that addressed part of this problem by producing a groundbreaking recipe to streamline computer server workflows. Their work saved energy and resources. Tech giants including Vimeo and Google enthusiastically implemented the algorithm in their systems, with online video platform Vimeo reporting that the algorithm had reduced their bandwidth usage by a factor of eight.
They have found an algorithm that removes one of the major causes of overloaded servers once and for all. Our initial algorithm was a huge improvement over the way industry had been doing things, but this version is many times better and reduces resource usage to the greatest extent possible. Furthermore, it is free to use for all,” says Professor Thorup of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Computer Science, who developed the algorithm alongside department colleagues Anders Aamand and Jakob Bæk Tejs Knudsen, cites Science Daily.
But, how does the algorithm work?
According to the researchers, the new algorithm ensures that clients are distributed as evenly as possible among servers, by moving them around as little as possible, and by retrieving content as locally as possible. For example, to ensure that client distribution among servers balances so that no server is more than 10% more burdened than others, the old algorithm could deal with an update by moving a client one hundred times.
The new algorithm reduces this to 10 moves, even when there are billions of clients and servers in the system.
Mathematically stated: if the balance is to be kept within a factor of 1+1/X, the improvement in the number of moves from X2 to X is generally impossible to improve upon. As many large IT firms have already implemented Professor Thorup’s original algorithm, he believes that industry will adopt the new one immediately — and that it may already be in use.
Studies have demonstrated that global data centers consume more than 400 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. This accounts for approximately two percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions and currently equals all emissions from global air traffic. Data centre electricity consumption is expected to double by 2025.