Over the past couple of years, Google has been testing an algorithm that learns how best to adjust cooling systems—fans, ventilation, and other equipment—in order to lower power consumption. This system previously made recommendations to data center managers, who would decide whether or not to implement them, leading to energy savings of around 40 percent in those cooling systems.
Now, Google says, it has effectively handed control to the algorithm, which is managing cooling at several of its data centers all by itself.
Koomey thinks using machine learning to optimize the behavior of the power-hungry computer chips inside data centers could prove even more significant. “I’m eager to see Google and other big players apply such tools to optimizing their computing loads," he says. "The possibilities on the compute side are tenfold bigger than for cooling.”