DeepMind may be a master at one of the most complex games on Earth, but can it handle the day-to-day energy concerns of a Google datacenter? Yes, as it turns out, and with a vengeance. The power needs of a datacenter depend on lots of factors, from demand to the weather, and adjusting to or predicting these variables in order to achieve maximal power efficiency can be difficult indeed. Google has been applying machine learning to the problem, building a neural model with which its AI can keep all these factors in mind, so to speak. The researchers finally let DeepMind loose on a live data center -- and the results were immediately validating.
At a time where data center energy consumption is increasing rapidly, optimization is a must. But it is not self-evident that, apparent obvious technical adjustments actually benefits the datacenter. Matse: "Datacenters must continue to optimize. The magic value here is the PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness). But how exactly are you going to do that? And what is the result of your optimization? For example, you can lower the cooling water temperature by two degrees, because then you might save money. But what is the impact of this on the data floor? That is hard for a person to quanitfy. Artificial intelligence, a technology that is developing rapidly and has more and more applications, can therefore be a useful tool to improve the availability and efficiency of a datacenter. Matse says: "What we do, together with TNO (Dutch Governmental Sciunce institute), Vortech (data science) and Actiflow (CFD), is making a'digital twin'.
And now, underneath Scotland's cold, turbulent waters, a data center hums away, providing the Scottish isles' coastal communities with high speed cloud computing capabilities and internet connectivity. SEE ALSO: Here's How Your Phone's Internet Works On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it had deployed the second phase of Project Natick: a "moonshot" research project to test the viability of underwater datacenters. It placed the datacenter off the coast of the Orkney Islands, which are at the northernmost tip of Scotland. Microsoft will monitor the device for the next 12 months to see how what was an idea on paper just four years ago functions in the real world. "We know if we can put something in here and it survives, we are good for just about any place we want to go," project manager Ben Cutler said in a statement.
On July 27, Microsoft announced it had completed a milestone in its test of using hydrogen fuel cells to replace diesel. Microsoft officials have said the company is planning to eliminate its dependency on diesel fuel by 2030, the same year it is aiming to be carbon negative. Microsoft officials noted in a blog post today that diesel fuel currently accounts for less than one percent of Microsoft's overall emissions. Its use is primarily within Azure datacenters for diesel-powered generators that can be used during power outages and other disruptions. Recently, hydrogen fuel cell costs have plummeted, making them an economically viable alternative to diesel powered options, officials said.
Microsoft has a pretty nifty way to store data: In an underwater datacenter, located off the coast of Scotland, capable of holding 27.6 petabytes of information. It's part of Project Natick, the company's testbed for the feasibility of underwater datacenters powered by offshore, renewable energy. The datacenter was sunk in June 2018, but now Microsoft has installed two underwater cameras that provide a live view at the sunken datacenter, as noticed by The Verge. Yes, you can now observe fish and other sea creatures swimming around a tank that contains a lot of data. SEE ALSO: Inside Microsoft's secret Surface testing labs Don't expect to see anything wild; it's basically fish frolicking around a big tank, and you have to trust Microsoft's word that it holds 12 racks containing 864 standard Microsoft datacenter servers with enough storage for about 5 million movies.