CS 598tar, Fall 2010

Green Computing

A Cyber-physical Problem




Tarek Abdelzaher, 4126 Siebel Center, Tel: 265-6793
Office Hours: Monday, 9-11am, 4126 Siebel Center


Lecture Times

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 - 1:45pm, 1111 Siebel Center



Energy and carbon footprint considerations have recently received significant attention across many areas of computer science. Building more energy-efficient computing systems as well as building computing technology that increases energy-efficiency of other physical systems are becoming concerns of growing importance, and areas of increasing investment by both government and industry. Initiatives from HP's Green Business Technology to IBM's Smarter Planet view energy and sustainability issues as main concerns. This paper-reading course investigates recent advances in the broad realm of green technologies to save energy and reduce the carbon footprint of modern computing and engineered systems. A holistic coverage is given ranging from single device issues to algorithms for reducing power consumption of data centers, transportation systems, and smart buildings. New and emerging research directions in green computing are identified and open challenges are discussed. The course includes an experimental project on an energy testbed.


The following topics are covered:

1. Introduction to Green Computing.

Websites, statistics, and government initiatives: How bad the energy crisis really is?

2. Reducing the IT footprint

What really contributes to the footprint (from machine manufacturing to disposal)?

Saving energy on a single machine

Saving energy in networking and other components

Saving energy in clusters and data centers

It's not just about computing: Saving energy on data center cooling

The cutting edge: A green Internet backbone and other outrageous ideas!

Sustainable materials, disposal options, and less commonly thought-of issues

3. Computing technology for energy efficiency of other physical systems

Computing technology for greener transportation

Computing technology for smarter buildings

Carbon footprint calculators: what is my footprint?

4. Major green initiatives: Sustainable IT, Green Business, Smarter Plant, and more.

5. Conclusions, open challenges, major players, funding options, and more.





10% of the grade will be assigned on individuals' class participation, and discussion of research papers.


10% will be assigned on group summaries of the papers/topics covered (project group members share the same group summary grade). More credit will be given to groups with creative and original opinions, and on their ability to defend their correctness. Assigned summaries (one per group) are to be submitted to the instructor by e-mail by 9pm of the day before class. (Please include the words "598 SUMMARY" in the subject of the e-mail, and include the group members and title of the critiqued paper in the body. A discussion of the research topic will ensue in class.


5% of the grade will be assigned on an in-class presentation.


10% of the grade will be assigned for an open-book take-home midterm.


15% will be assigned for an open-book take-home final.


50% of the grade will be determined by a substantial group course project. This grade includes progress reports, a work-in-progress presentation, a final in-class presentation, a final project paper, and a project demonstration (to the instructor). The project will implement some innovative sensor network service, protocol, or computing environment. Students will be allowed to work in groups of up to 3 on the project. Access will be provided to a data-center testbed as well as other (alternative) project testbeds in the second half of the semester. The project will proceed through the landmarks stated below.



The project will be chosen by each group within the first three weeks of class. The class web page will offer suggestions on possible projects. Groups are encouraged to come up with their own ideas. Project title, abstract, and member list is due Sept 14th.


Each group will schedule a periodic meeting (twice a month) with the instructor to discuss progress and problems on their project of interest.


Each group will prepare a two page project proposal. The proposals are to be submitted to the instructor before September 30th. The proposal should include a credible set of initial project results, a list of further proposed milestones, and a plan of action for the rest of the semester.


Each group is responsible for a short project presentation in class on October 26th-28th. The presentation will allow others to critique the initial results and current state of the project and give constructive feedback to group members.


Final project presentations will be conducted by each group the week of November 30th.


Final project reports are due the week of finals. The report follows the standard technical paper format.


Successful projects should result in a conference-quality paper.