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Sustainability Meets High-Performance Computing: A Game-Changer for Climate Action
May 26, 2023 Blog


I recall as a child the first time I saw an Olympic-size swimming pool. I was in awe of the vast amount of water laid out before me. It turns out that a typical Olympic pool holds a staggering 2.5 million litres of water. It also happens to be the case that even the smallest traditional data centres require volumes of water equivalent to 10 Olympic-size pools for their cooling each year.

Cooling is one of the major energy consumers for data centres. It is required to deal with the heat generated by the thousands of processors working away.

The dilemma we face is that our thirst for computing is not decreasing while the need to drive sustainability is becoming more urgent. With the world going digital, talks about metaverses and the rush towards competitive advantage that generative AI is going to deliver, many of us have aims that are diametrically opposed. We all want sustainability, yet at the same time, we all want the accelerate our digitalisation.

Companies like AMD sit right in the middle of this dilemma. Not only does AMD set itself ambitious targets for its own carbon footprint, but at the same time, it provides the technology that is the foundation that powers the augmented, digital and AI future that we have ahead of us.

To this end, they are committed to “squaring the circle.” Delivering processor technology that will make the digital future a reality, and at the same time designing the technology to drive compute energy efficiencies to new heights.

This is a really serious calling, with the 2022 Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum listing “climate action failure” as the biggest long-term danger to global stability, and the risk with the greatest potential for adverse consequences over the next decade. As data centres are responsible for somewhere in the region of 3% of global electricity consumption, the commitment of companies like AMD to invest in solving this issue is paramount.

Saving the Planet, One Processor at a Time

IT professionals are relying on processor vendors to lead the way, as consumers of technology demand performance without compromise. AMD is stepping up with deep commitments for continual improvements in energy efficiency designed into each generation of processors, and doing so whilst continuing to push the boundaries on server performance.

At the heart of these efforts lie their highly advanced, state-of-the-art, power-efficient processors.

AMD’s EPYC 4th Gen: Fusing Energy Efficiency and Performance

Put simply, this latest generation of data centres delivers blistering fast, unparalleled performance, while also having the lowest carbon footprint we have ever seen.

When it comes to performance, the aim and deliverable are simple, yet compelling.

More power, fewer servers. With up to 96 cores in a single processor, AMD’s 4th Gen EPYC processors allow for fewer, more powerful servers for increased flexibility and sustainable business practices.

When it comes to sustainability through power efficiency, AMD is doing far more than paying lip service to the concept. The commitment is real and forward-looking.

AMD themselves are on course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations by the year 2030.

They are on track to deliver a 30X increase in energy efficiency from processors powering servers and high-performance computing by 2025.

And 100% of all AMD suppliers have publicly published emission reduction goals.

If you need a third-party endorsement of AMD’s sustainability credentials, perhaps the LUMI Supercomputer in Finland is amongst the most compelling. It’s one of the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world and is being used for advanced climate research, and is powered by AMD processors.

In line with this deep commitment, AMD recently commissioned a survey of IT leaders across Asia to understand where they are on their sustainability journeys and what challenges they are facing in becoming more sustainable. You can download the findings here.