Reeling in Energy Use: How Green Computing Can Reduce AI’s Environmental Impact

**Title: Green Computing and AI: Reducing Carbon Emissions and Energy Consumption**


When you search for flights on Google, you’ll notice that the carbon-emission estimate for each flight is now displayed alongside its cost. This transparency aims to inform customers about their environmental impact. Surprisingly, the computing industry, which has even higher carbon emissions than the airline industry, lacks a similar level of transparency. Artificial intelligence (AI) models, such as ChatGPT, contribute significantly to this energy demand, leading to predictions that data centers will consume up to 21% of the world’s electricity supply by 2030. However, researchers at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Supercomputing Center (LLSC) are leading efforts to reduce energy consumption in data centers, particularly in AI models.

**Reducing Power Consumption and Increasing Efficiency**

Computer scientists at the LLSC noticed a surge in energy usage due to the increasing number of AI jobs running on their hardware. To address this issue, they explored ways to run jobs more efficiently. Power-capping hardware and limiting the power drawn by graphics processing units (GPUs), which are commonly used for AI model training, resulted in a 12-15% reduction in energy consumption without significantly impacting model performance. The LLSC team developed software that implements power-capping capabilities within the widely used scheduler system, Slurm. Implementing power constraints also led to cooler-running GPUs, reducing stress on the cooling system and potentially increasing hardware reliability and service lifetime. Additionally, scheduling jobs strategically during off-peak hours and colder months helped cut down on cooling needs.

**Analyzing the Carbon Footprint of High-Performance Computing Systems**

To facilitate the process of optimizing data center operations and reducing carbon emissions, the LLSC team collaborated with researchers from Northeastern University to develop a comprehensive framework for analyzing the carbon footprint of high-performance computing systems. This framework allows system practitioners to evaluate the sustainability of their current systems and make changes for future generations.

**Efficient AI-model Development and Inference**

Hyperparameter optimization, the process of finding the best configuration for AI models, can be energy-intensive when testing thousands of configurations. The LLSC researchers developed a model that predicts the performance of a given configuration to identify underperforming models early on, leading to an 80% reduction in energy used for model training. For model inference, which contributes significantly to AI-model emissions over time, the LLSC team created an optimizer that matches models with the most energy-efficient hardware, further reducing energy consumption by 10-20%.

**Promoting a Culture of Green Computing**

Despite the potential energy and cost savings, many data centers have been slow to adopt green techniques due to misaligned incentives and a lack of systematic studies on energy-saving approaches. However, the LLSC team is actively sharing their research through peer-reviewed publications and open-source repositories to increase awareness and encourage others to follow suit. Implementing green computing practices not only reduces carbon emissions but also offers significant cost savings for AI development.


Green computing in the AI industry is gaining momentum, driven by research conducted by the LLSC and other institutions. By implementing power-capping techniques, optimizing hardware usage, and analyzing carbon footprints, data centers can significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Future advancements in green computing will require collaboration and widespread adoption to ensure a sustainable and environmentally friendly AI-driven future.


**Reducing Power Consumption and Increasing Efficiency**

**Analyzing the Carbon Footprint of High-Performance Computing Systems**

**Efficient AI-model Development and Inference

Source link

Stay in the Loop

Get the daily email from AI Headliner that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Join our mailing list to stay in the loop to stay informed, for free.

Latest stories

You might also like...