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Google's AI brings down data centre cooling bill

Google’s total energy use could be slashed by 15 per cent after applying artificial intelligence that manages cooling patterns at its data centres more efficiently than humans.

With billions of web searches to handle every day in addition to powering hugely demanding services like Gmail and YouTube, the internet giant’s servers require a lot of energy to stay cool, so much that they are believed to contribute around two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Google’s DeepMind AI division has now come up with a complicated machine-learning algorithm to accurately anticipate when the servers will be put under increased pressure.

Mustafa Suleyman, DeepMind’s co-founder, said that efficiently handling the servers’ cooling was so complicated and multi-layered to the point that an algorithm was better suited than a human.

“It’s about tweaking all of the knobs simultaneously,” Mr Suleyman explained.

“It’s one of those perfect examples of a setting where humans have a really good intuition they’ve developed over time but the machine-learning algorithm has so much more data that describes real-world conditions.”

The AI has helped Google reduce its energy use for cooling by 40 per cent and total energy use by 15 per cent.

In the past ten years, Google has built its own super efficient servers, employed more efficient cooling techniques, and invested in green energy sources with the eventual goal of being powered entirely by renewable energy.

Google hasn’t revealed exactly how much energy its data centres use but does admit that overall, it is responsible for 0.01 per cent of global electricity use, with its servers accounting for most of that.

Mr Suleyman added that there is still plenty that they can do and that the same algorithm-based approach can be applied in other departments such as power generation facilities and energy networks.

“I really think this is just the beginning. There are lots more opportunities to find efficiencies in data centre infrastructure,” he concluded.

Image: 4X-image/iStockADNFCR-1186-ID-801822447-ADNFCR

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