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  • Name

    Carlos Silva
  • Role

  • Since

    01st September 2021


A review on the decarbonization of high-performance computing centers

Silva, CA; Vilaça, R; Pereira, A; Bessa, RJ;


High-performance computing relies on performance-oriented infrastructures with access to powerful computing resources to complete tasks that contribute to solve complex problems in society. The intensive use of resources and the increase in service demand due to emerging fields of science, combined with the exascale paradigm, climate change concerns, and rising energy costs, ultimately means that the decarbonization of these centers is key to improve their environmental and financial performance. Therefore, a review on the main opportunities and challenges for the decarbonization of high-performance computing centers is essential to help decision-makers, operators and users contribute to a more sustainable computing ecosystem. It was found that state-of-the-art supercomputers are growing in computing power, but are combining different measures to meet sustainability concerns, namely going beyond energy efficiency measures and evolving simultaneously in terms of energy and information technology infrastructure. It was also shown that policy and multiple entities are now targeting specifically HPC, and that identifying synergies with the energy sector can reveal new revenue streams, but also enable a smoother integration of these centers in energy systems. Computing-intensive users can continue to pursue their scientific research, but participating more actively in the decarbonization process, in cooperation with computing service providers. Overall, many opportunities, but also challenges, were identified, to decrease carbon emissions in a sector mostly concerned with improving hardware performance.