GREEN - Global Research into Energy Efficient Networking

Overview

The energy consumption of the network infrastructure underpinning the Internet is becoming increasingly important. It is estimated to take about 2% of the energy consumption of industrialised nations, or about the same as the aviation industry.

CAIA's GREEN program is investigating ways to reduce this energy consumption.

Activities

The GREEN project is pursuing research that is applicable to the immediate environmental problems facing society, but will continue to be of relevance in the long term. This includes fundamental and rigorous research in resource allocation theory, and grounding in experiments on real systems.

To date, the research in GREEN has two branches:

  • Theoretical research into speed scaling. Many devices, such as CPUs and disk drives, consume less power when operating more slowly. This research is characterising the optimal speed to run at as load varies. The aim is to achieve the greatest energy reduction with the smallest reduction in speed.
  • Experiments that will qualitatively and quantitatively explore the relationships between IP network traffic patterns and the energy consumption of devices such as routers, wireless access points, content servers and other infrastructure devices.

In the media

An overview of the project presented in the Swinburne Magazine article Internet power may need computers to sleep.

Some background for this project is also provided ABC Radio National's Future Tense programme Solar Roads, urban mining, the Jevons Paradox and energy efficiency aired on 4 November 2010. The section on the GREEN project starts after 20 minutes of the audio download.

Selected Research Output

See also the complete list of publications.

What can I do?

As an individual, there are many simple things you can do to reduce your contribution to the Internet's energy consumption.
  • Enable the power saving modes of your PC. Most operating systems have a "sleep" mode, from which the PC wakes almost as quickly as from a screen saver. Enabling these modes will allow research like ours to benefit you computer.
  • Use a laptop instead of a desktop. Because laptops are optimized to run off batteries, they incorporate the latest power saving technology.
  • Shop locally. Even though the Internet allows you to shop for bargains from all over the world, shipping individual items is very inefficient. The majority of energy associated with eCommerce is not due to the networks and servers, but packaging and transport costs. See Energy Use in Sales and Distribution via E-Commerce and Conventional Retail: A Case Study of the Japanese Book Sector by Eric Williams and Takashi Tagami, Journal of Industrial Ecology 6(2):99-144, Apr 2002.

Funding

Lachlan Andrew's work on the GREEN project is funded by an ARC Future Fellowship.

Project Members

CAIA members

Collaborators

Openings for research students

The GREEN project has several PhD projects available.

 

Last updated on 29 Jun 2012 by L. Andrew
Last Updated: Friday 6-Jul-2012 10:43:35 EST | Maintained by: Lachlan Andrew | Authorised by: Grenville Armitage