[Beowulf] Electricity cost: a critical survival issue of our ICT infrastructures.

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Apr 8 02:04:23 PDT 2013

On Mon, Apr 08, 2013 at 08:58:19AM +0000, Hearns, John wrote:

> a) humankind will inevitably demand, build and find uses for computing systems with ever increasing numbers of fixed point of
> floating point operations per second.
> Devil's advocate time - we can simply declare that no new faster system will be built

Photovoltaics actually shaves off peak quite nicely, and reduces 
the price of electricity. If you don't want to invest into MWh
storage (redox flow or otherwise) you could checkpoint a bit
before sunset, and resume when power is available. But this
reduces your duty cycle, so perhaps electrochemical storage
is worthwhile, after all.

Other renewable sources (geothermal in Iceland) hydro, etc.
are not variable, though it might make your nighttime energy
more expensive.
> b) if systems with ever increasing numbers of fixed/floating point operations per second are built they will inevitably require
> more electrical power.
> By this I mean - maybe some new disruptive technology will come along (quantum computing?) and we will not have a race to add yet more
> Cores consuming yet ore watts to systems.
> As I say I don't believe either of (a) or (b)  - else I would be removed
> from the Union of HPC Wranglers and the Confraternity of Supercomputer Mavens (Southeast England Branch Local)

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