As part of a corporate strategic overhaul in research, Hewlett-Packard Labs is cranking up its R&D efforts in three areas of sustainable IT.
1. Sustainable Data Center: The aim here is to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers by 75 percent overall, while simultaneously cutting the cost of ownership and upholding business requirements for ever-improving uptime, performance and reliability. The project is being led by HP Fellow Chandrakant Patel within the new Sustainable IT Ecosystem Lab.
2. Improving Connections: This will replace copper wires with optical laser communications links, as part of an effort called the Photonic Interconnect project led by HP Fellow R. Stanley Williams. The basic foundation and idea behind this project is the fact that photonics makes it possible to fit dozens or hundreds of processors on server chips, which will save power and enable more flexible system configurations.
3. Better Predictive Tools: HP is working on tools for predicting and modeling the impact of various business processes -- anything from manufacturing plans to supply chain logistics. This is a broad initiative that will be organized along three different focuses. First, the company will (understandably so) examine how to apply this approach to the commercial printing and publishing industries, which obviously represents a large customer concentration. Second, HP will look at how to commercialize an approach it calls the Lifetime Exergy Advisor, which was developed with the University of California at Berkeley. This software looks at all available energy used in a product to manufacture, ship, use and recycle it. Then, it explores the impact of using alternative materials. Third, HP has developed something it is calling the "sustainable hub," in order to encourage sustainability experts from all around the world to contribute ideas related to sustainable IT.