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The Australian National University

Muhammad Atif

Muhammad Atif portrait
Name: Muhammad Atif
Position: PhD Scholar
Room: N220
Building:108, North Road
School: School of Computer Science
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Brief about my work:

The topic of my research is adaptive resource remapping in vitalised heterogeneous clusters.

In layman terms different scientific applications have conflicting requirements, some need more CPU power (speed in one of them), some need faster communication networks or simply some need more RAM. We try to determine the application needs at run time through a lightweight performance characterisation framework. If the current compute node cannot entertain the resource requirements, we try to move the running instance of the application to the best available hardware that suites the needs.

Thoughts on Green ICT:

The global carbon foot print of ICT might look small (currently 2-3%), but its share is set to double by 2020 mainly due to the rapid uptake of computers, mobile phones and the Internet in the emerging world. Another interesting aspect of ICT is that it is now a driving force behind many other businesses. For example the virtual technologies like teleworking, video conferencing and e-governance can help limit the need for freight and travel, thereby decreasing the carbon foot print.

In my view, now is the right time to rethink what we owe to this beautiful planet. We should strive to go greener and every bit helps. E.g. why is your computer running on 3 GHz frequency while you are only doing word processing? You can simply scale the frequency of your system down to 800 MHz and save electrical power. This can result in up to 340 kWh savings just for one computer. Imagine the energy saved annually when all of us are practising this.

By investing in Green ICT, one has a potential not only to reduce the carbon emissions, but also save valuable $$$ in electricity and travel expenses.

Successes and failure you see in Green ICT

Green ICT is a win-win situation for everyone. The businesses save time, money and as an added plus help in reducing their CO2 foot print.

Power savings you see through your work

My PhD research is in the area of high performance computing and high throughput computing, which is often seen as something totally opposite to the concept of saving power. The green ICT is not an essential part of my research, but is an important by-product.

As good things are often hidden, we realised during the research that obtaining high throughput does not necessary mean consuming more power and running CPUs to their maximum frequencies. There are lots of scientific jobs that can run on much lower CPU frequencies without any significant loss of time which obviously will save time and money.

My research work can determine the minimum CPU frequency at which the application can run without sacrificing the time. In broader perspective, similar methods can be applied in the cloud and data centre environments. E.g. making use of vitalisation and throttling the CPU frequencies in a way that will ensure that the data centre goes green without the sacrifice of precious time.

Updated:  21 April 2011/ Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/ Page Contact:  Systems and Information Technology