The Michigan Engineer News Center

EECS professors receive research grants from Google

The research funded by Google involves redesigning servers and data centers to improve their energy efficiency.| Short Read
EnlargeProfs. Wenisch, Mudge, Blaauw, and Sylvester
IMAGE:  Profs. Wenisch, Mudge, Blaauw, and Sylvester

Google has announced its first-ever round of Google Focused Research Awards, and four EECS professors have received two grants totalling $425,000 for their research into energy-efficient computing.

Professor Thomas Wenisch has received a 3-year grant for a project he will pursue in conjunction with colleagues at University of Virginia, University of California – Santa Barbara, and Rutgers University, entitled “Data-Centric Approach to Energy Proportionality.”

In addition, Profs. Trevor MudgeDavid BlaauwDennis Sylvestor, and Prof. Wenisch received a grant for related research entitled “Rearchitecting Memory and Processors for Energy-Efficiency.”

The research funded by Google involves redesigning servers and data centers to improve their energy efficiency. Current data centers waste an enormous amount of power because they are designed to handle unusual spikes in user demand; for example, when everyone tries to activate their new cell phone on Christmas day. As a result, data centers are routinely overprovisioned; that is, they provide more computing power than is required under typical use. Under current system designs, underused systems still consume almost as much power as systems running under full usage.

In addition, the overall architectures of today’s servers – from the chips that power them to the software that makes them tick – are optimized for performance, and not efficiency. Through the design of new memory and processor architectures and techniques, the researchers seek to develop high-performance servers that are also energy efficient.

Profs. Wenisch, Mudge, Blaauw, and Sylvester
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Catharine June
ECE Communications and Marketing Manager

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read