UT and Japan collaborate to reduce data centre energy use

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The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and the Japanese government are planning to work together to combat the issue of high-energy data centres, the Texas Tribune reports.
An increasing number of data centres are emerging throughout the US, as the country's - and indeed, the world's - population becomes increasingly dependent on computers to carry out a multitude of tasks, from shopping to banking and communication.
As the article explains, data centres contain powerful computers that use high volumes of energy to operate. Not only does this impact tech companies' carbon footprints, but it's also costing them millions of dollars in energy bills.
Officials from the university and the Japanese government have recently announced a new $13 million project to improve the energy efficiency of data centres – a move that university President Gregory Fenves says is "urgently needed" as we become "ever more dependent on data, and at the same time, ever more conscious of the need to utilize all sources of energy."
The university's Texas Advanced Computing Centre supports numerous scientific research projects and has one of the most powerful supercomputers in the US. Thanks to the project - funded almost entirely by the Japanese government's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization - the centre will receive $4 million of extra computing capacity, and an assessment of the equipment's efficiency.
According to a report by the National Resources Defense Council and Anthesis, in 2013 data centres across the US used around 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough to power every home in New York City twice, for more than 12 months.
Dan Stanzione, executive director of the UT computing centre, stated that: "If we're going to build large-scale computers, we're going to need more and more energy to do it. We have to find sustainable ways to do that."
Meanwhile, Fumio Ueda, director of the Japanese department, said that they hoped to "verify the energy efficiency of the new technology and to disseminate it in the U.S." through this latest project.
The announcement comes just days after President Obama signed off on a 'National Strategic Computing Initiative,' which encompasses energy efficiency issues, and a new 'Clean Power Plan' aimed at shaking up the nation's energy sector to reduce its carbon footprint.
Researchers predict that even reducing the data centres' energy consumption by a few percentage points could make a big impact: "Small changes in efficiency there have massive consequences in savings," advised Stanzione.
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