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HP Labs Advances Sustainable IT with New Research ProjectsPALO ALTO, Calif., June 4, 2008
HP today announced new research initiatives from HP Labs, the company’s central research arm, aimed at developing new technologies and business models that leave a lighter carbon footprint.
Initially, HP Labs will focus its research in sustainability on three major projects, including: an industry-first initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers by 75 percent; groundbreaking research to replace copper wiring in servers with laser light beams; and tools for measuring and managing the amount of energy used to develop products.
Sustainability is one of five major research themes of the newly redesigned HP Labs, which recently refocused its efforts to address the most complex challenges facing technology customers in the next decade.
“HP’s long-standing commitment to the environment is second to none in the technology industry. Today, HP Labs extends our dedication with these important research initiatives that will advance the state of the art in sustainable IT,” said Prith Banerjee, senior vice president, research, and director, HP Labs. “HP Labs will lead the industry in developing the technology that could dramatically reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint of entire industries.”
The ultimate sustainable data center
HP Labs unveiled its Sustainable Data Center project, which is focused on reducing the carbon footprint of data centers by 75 percent while simultaneously reducing the total cost of ownership. For example, an average data center that consumes five megawatts of electricity annually could power more than 4,300 homes in the United States for a year. This research project will enable companies to drastically reduce the amount of electricity consumed in the data center.
Under the leadership of Chandrakant Patel, HP Fellow and director of the Sustainable IT Ecosystem Lab, researchers will study how energy is used and managed for the entire lifetime of a data center, from its design, synthesis, operation and end-of-life for its components. The research team, which includes computer scientists, materials scientists, physicists, and mechanical and electrical engineers, will use this information to develop data center technologies that achieve a massive reduction in resource consumption while maintaining performance, reliability and uptime requirements.
HP expects this research to open up new markets for its business by extending the technology to other areas such as smart buildings, grids and print factories.
Replacing copper with light to improve energy efficiency
A second sustainability research initiative is focused on replacing the copper-based electrical connections used in today’s IT systems with optical laser communication links.
The Photonic Interconnect project, led by HP Senior Fellow and Director of Information and Quantum Systems Lab, R. Stanley Williams, builds on years of research dedicated to building photonic optical connections and components.
Photonic interconnections make it possible to fit dozens, and eventually hundreds, of processors on server system chips. In addition, the optical connections are 20 times more efficient than what is on the market today and will save companies multiple gigawatts of power annually, thus driving down IT costs. The photonic interconnects, which range in distance from 100 meters to 100 nanometers, also enable more flexible system configurations that can be quickly redeployed based on business needs.
New approach for modeling and measuring energy and material use
HP Labs also introduced a new project, to be led by Patel, focused on developing a set of tools that can model, predict, measure and manage the environmental impact of product manufacturing, supply chains and business processes.
HP will develop software and services tools to measure and manage key environmental impact metrics, such as carbon emissions, total energy usage and non-recoverable energy consumption. HP will use the tools to help customers re-engineer their businesses to be more sustainable and cost-effective through the innovative use of IT. This project will initially focus on three primary areas:
More information on these projects is available at the HP Labs website at www.hpl.hp.com.
HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers – from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP is among the world’s largest IT companies, with revenue totaling $110.4 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2008. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.
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