Google is using artificial intelligence to reduce its energy use - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  July 20, 2016

Google improves power usage efficiency 15% at data centers after AI deployment

The next generation of energy efficiency may have just arrived. 

Google, using technology developed by DeepMind, the artificial intelligence company it acquired in 2014, has been using an AI system to help cut power use at its data centers, Bloomberg News reported July 19. Google, alongside peers such as Apple and Microsoft, have for years been working to reduce — and make cleaner — the significant amount of energy consumed by their data centers. 

According to Bloomberg, Google put the DeepMind AI system in control of certain parts of its data centers in an attempt to reduce power usage through manipulation of computer servers and related systems such as cooling. DeepMind Co-Founder Demis Hassabis told the news organization that the system uses a technique that is similar to the software that taught itself to play Atari video games. 

The result was a "several percentage point"reduction in the data centers' power usage, which Hassabis told Bloomberg is "a huge saving in terms of cost" and also good for the environment. 

Bloomberg reported

The savings translate into a 15 percent improvement in power usage efficiency, or PUE, Google said in a statement. PUE measures how much electricity Google uses for its computers, versus the supporting infrastructure like cooling systems.

Any meaningful reduction in the power consumed by its data centers has the potential to translate into millions of dollars in electric bill savings for Google. The company has said that in 2014, it used 4,402,836 MWh of electricity; a big portion of that is attributable to data centers. 

Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc. 

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