Google is reducing costs at its facilities by improving energy efficiency in a revolutionary way. The search giant has been using artificial intelligence to study the environments in its twelve data centers around the world, in order to utilize power more effectively and diminish its environmental impact.
Google’s data centers are massive facilities housing enormous amounts of cables, pipes, and servers that collect and store information received from consumers. These facilities are both expensive to operate and environmentally damaging, as they could account for up to 2 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Each center is equipped with thousands of sensors, from which Google’s artificial intelligence has been collecting and studying data for two years. The software – obtained through Google’s 2014 acquisition of Cambridge-based A.I. company, DeepMind – uses machine learning to analyze patterns on temperature, weather, power usage, and machine interaction with the environment. With this information, the platform is able to manipulate computer servers and equipment in order to increase efficiency by eliminating unnecessary electricity usage.
In 2014, Google used approximately 4.4 gigawatt-hours of power, which is equivalent to the average yearly consumption of nearly 367,000 American family homes and 0.01 percent of global electricity use. According to the company, electricity consumption at the facilities has reportedly dropped by “several percentage points” and power usage efficiency has improved by 15 percent since the implementation of its artificial intelligence strategy. The approach has reduced Google’s environmental footprint, and monetary savings are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The algorithm used at the data centers will eventually be used to increase efficiency in other business areas for Google. Instances include increasing the amount of energy harnessed from power input at power plants, reducing water usage in semiconductor manufacturing, and improvements for other companies that run using Google’s cloud.
Read more here- “Google Cuts Its Giant Electricity Bill With DeepMind-Powered AI,” (Jack Clark, Bloomberg)