Amsterdam’s energy-efficient supercomputer

According to The Green500, the fact that “for decades, the notion of ‘performance’ has been synonymous with ‘speed’” has led to the emergence of supercomputers that consume vast amounts of electrical power and produce so much heat that large cooling facilities must be constructed to ensure proper performance. To promote the creation of  less energy-consuming supercomputers, The Green500 list was established. It is published several times per year, and its latest edition places the Amsterdam-based computer Cartesius Accelerator Island on the fourth place.

Trend at the top

The report classifies the Cartesius Accelerator Island as a heterogeneous supercomputing system – one that uses “computational building blocks that consist of two or more types of ‘computing brains,’” including traditional processors (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and co-processors – and remarks on a trend for heterogeneous supercomputing systems at the top of the list.

Sustainable tech hub Amsterdam

The fact that a supercomputer from Amsterdam ranks this high on The Green500 list reflects well on Amsterdam’s aim to be a tech hub that is serious about sustainability as well. Amsterdam has a strong and rapidly-developing international ICT sector and is home to the world’s largest and most stable digital exchange platform, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX). The fact that the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is extremely well connected digitally has drawn many data centres to the area.

Amsterdam’s Green IT programme

However, this means that the amount of energy required is increasing correspondingly. To address this, the City of Amsterdam has joined forces with the ICT sector to introduce the Green IT Amsterdam programme. In addition to making the sector more energy-efficient in general, Green IT Amsterdam also aims at changing mobility patterns, exploring the use of sustainable energy sources and improving energy efficiency in houses and offices.