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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/Z531054/1
Title The Kelvin Living Lab: Towards Net Zero High-Performance Computing
Status Started
Energy Categories Energy Efficiency(Industry) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Computer Science and Informatics) 80%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 15%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Architecture and the Built Environment) 5%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 80%;
Other (Energy technology information dissemination) 20%;
Principal Investigator Professor HTK Vandierendonck

Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Queen's University Belfast
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 January 2024
End Date 31 December 2026
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £541,724
Industrial Sectors Information Technologies
Region Northern Ireland
Programme NC : Infrastructure
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor HTK Vandierendonck , Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Queen's University Belfast (99.996%)
  Other Investigator Dr D M Laverty , Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Queen's University Belfast (0.001%)
Professor B de Supinski , Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Queen's University Belfast (0.001%)
Professor RF Woods , Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Queen's University Belfast (0.001%)
Dr D Rooney , Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Queen's University Belfast (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Northern Ireland Electricity (0.000%)
Project Contact , Alces Flight (0.000%)
Project Contact , DELL Technologies (0.000%)
Project Contact , eFutures (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The purpose of this project is to evaluate options which reduce the carbon emissions of the Kelvin-2 high-performance computing (HPC) to zero or negative. This will be achieved by improving efficiency, and implementing scheduling and complementary technologies. HPC is a large electricity consumer and has a commensurate cooling requirement which can significantly increase power consumption. Therefore, targeting the processing efficiency and waste heat offers the greatest opportunity to decarbonise. The proposed outputs focus on these options and seek to demonstrate an effective 40% improvement in energy-efficiency with the resulting guidelines made available to other Tier-2 centres. We aim to improve the sustainability of HPC through a multi-pronged approach:1. Analysing and deploying software and hardware to improve utilisation and energy-efficiency of the infrastructureIn the last two decades, various research has proposed ways to improve energy-efficiency of HPC systems, such as efficient scheduling of parallel applications, dynamic parallelism control and dynamic voltage and frequency scaling, including research by the PI and de Supinski, e.g., EP/M01147X/1, EP/L000555/1 and EP/M015742/1. However, these techniques have not transitioned from research to practise due to unknown risks on the service. Our goal is to re-evaluate and adjust such techniques on an isolated slice of the Kelvin-2 system. Additionally, we will explore alternative node architectures as different node architectures may present better energy-efficiency for specific applications. We will moreover investigate if we can leverage dynamic voltage and frequency scaling to help maintain the electrical utility grid's stability, as renewable energy sources reduce the grid's ability to counter dynamic stability problems, which limits their adoption. Based on expertise in time-synchronised instrumentation (OpenPMU), we will explore adaptation of power consumption of HPC infrastructures in real time to counter electrical grid frequency fluctuations.2. User engagement with sustainabilityIt is an open question for HPC centres how to incentivise users to execute jobs sustainably. We can however inform users on the environmental impact of their jobs, e.g., through reporting energy and carbon usage. The missing links are operational policies and scheduling algorithms that prioritise jobs with environmental impact in mind. This requires a fair charging scheme that reflects on the optimality of the time-vs-energy trade-off of executing jobs (avoiding penalising large energy-efficient jobs because of their size).3. Operations for Net zero HPCUtilising renewable sources can reduce the emissions associated with data processing significantly. By integrating HPC with other technologies which utilise the waste heat to capture or reduce the emissions of other processes they can be truly net zero. Using temperature data we will investigate various options for thermal enabled decarbonisation such as evaluation of novel direct air carbon capture (DAC) and co-location with heat consumers. We will maximise the impact of this project through knowledge sharing with other HPC facilities and stakeholders, which will be supported through collaborations with Northern Ireland HPC (https://ni-hpc.ac.uk/), the eFutures 3.0 network on electronics, and industry partners Dell Technologies, AlcesFlight and Northern Ireland Electricity Networks

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Added to Database 14/02/24