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Progress with our "Green IT" theme

We've been running our Green IT theme for several months and I'm pleased with the progress we've made. We've run two webinars and spoken at several events, including the ITU symposium on ICTs and Climate Change and Oxford University's conference on Low Carbon ICT As an example sector, we are working with the JISC-funded project on Sustainable IT in Higher Education- partly because this is a sector in which we can publicise progress without too many strings attached.

We helped Peter James organise the first SusteIT workshop, which was held in Cardiff on June 19th. This has already caused quite a stir; Cardiff have done a good job of procuring an energy-efficient machine hall and other education establishments seem to be looking to this as an examplar. Later this year, we will be helping Peter with two more workshops that fall under our remit.

Green IT has to consider all aspects of running an IT service. As such, it is a broader topic than we can cover. We attempt to address the following aspects:

- Modelling the power and cooling systems in data centres
- Virtualisation
- The use of Cloud Computing to outsource IT provision
- The impact of new processor architectures

The last of these is only beginning to appear on people's radar. Our industry has grown used to new hardware being both more powerful than the previous generation yet remaining largely compatible with it. This is likely to change: the era of "simple scaling" is drawing to a close - and is being helped on its way by increasing energy prices. The mass market won't fade away but those customers who have specialist needs - including high-throughput computing - will be able to take advantage of non-standard machines. Chip-makes are investing heavily in supercomputers composed of many GPUs - the graphics processors found on PC graphics boards - which can perform multiple instructions for certain calculations faster and using much less energy than conventional processors. Other possibilities include more use of FPGAs, for similar reasons.

Anyone interested in these topics may like to attend LTG workshop. This isn't one of our events but we're happy to advertise it - it looks good.

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