The rapid progress of computing technology and rapid turnover creates negative environmental impact through computing equipment e-waste. Because the growing computing capability is of critical importance to science, it is critical to find solutions. This NSF project's objective is to create extended lifecycle pathways for scientic computing equipment, and thereby increase scientific computing productivity per unit e-waste and carbon emissions.
The opportunity to create extended life with reduced carbon emissions depends on the Zero-carbon Cloud Project's novel approach leveraging the growing excess renewable power power grids for low-cost power and low-cost operation. We are creating economic models of the extended lifecycles and broader ecosystem, documenting the significant economic incentives and potential positive impacts on e-waste and carbon footprint. We will connect scientific computing facility operators (universities, national laboratories, and more) with innovative new providers. Together, we will solve the practical challenges, and publish best practices and standard models for extended lifecycle engagements. This work is supported by the US National Science Foundation under NSF Grant OAC-2019506.
Total Cost of Ownership and Economic ModelingComputing is critical for science (discovery), education and commerce, but there is increasing concern about the costs, climate impact and environmental impact of those capabilities. Today, many organizations follow a model, or usage pathway, of buy new, operate for five years and then decommission. We hope to identify alternative models that deliver greater scientific capability at lower cost to inform future practice and government investment. Specific questions being studied include:
Data Collection: The Zero Carbon Cloud team is reaching out to a number of government funded computing facilities seeking the following information for computing systems:
This data will be aggregated and used to perform analysis of current and potential pathways and lifetimes. No individual responses will be released, and care will be taken to avoid compromising individual responses and potentially sensitive information in aggregated results analysis. For more information, contact Prof. Andrew A Chien and Mark Dietrich .
Publications and Reports
More information on the Zero-carbon Cloud project can be found at: 2019 Overview and 2015 vision.
Questionaire: Assessing the extended-lifetime Opportunity for Scientific Computing Equipment (April 2020)
Please click HERE (link deactivated, June 2020) to fill out the
Your responses will be held in confidence and aggregated to create a projection of the potential scale, economics, and scientific benefits of extended lifetimes.
The full survey report is available , July 8, 2020.
The Large-scale Systems Group (LSSG) is at the University of Chicago's Department of Computer Science
LSSG is also affiliated with Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division.