Sustainable High-Performance Computing

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community


Ishfaq Ahmad
University of Texas at Arlington


The realm of high-performance computing is expanding in a new dimension: The objective is to curtail the electricity consumption of computers. This requires inventing myriad techniques, such as designing sustainable hardware platforms, low power components, energy-efficient architectures, collection and modeling of temperature and power consumption data, re-inventing algorithms, application restructuring, and intelligent software control  coupled by scheduling techniques. Since high-performance computing systems and data centers consume considerable amounts of electricity, they exert a hefty toll on the consumption of precious natural resources such as oil and coal. The conversion of these resources to electricity in turn results in carbon emissions that can negatively affect the environment, a threat that is rapidly escalating. An Exascale computer system, which is the next holy grail of ultra-high-speed computing, will require hundreds of megawatts of electricity, virtually requiring its own power plant. Thus, innovation, standardization, and new methodologies are required at several fronts. In this talk, we present some of these research issues focusing on large-scale computing grids, and present a few specific problem formulations as well as their solutions.

About the Speaker

Ishfaq Ahmad received a BSc degree in electrical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan, in 1985, and an MS degree in computer engineering and a PhD degree in computer science from Syracuse University, New York, U.S.A., in 1987 and 1992, respectively. Since 2002, he has been a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).  Prior to that, he was an associate professor of computer science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research focus is on the broader areas of parallel and distributed computing systems and their applications, optimization algorithms, multimedia systems, video compression, and energy-aware green computing. Dr. Ahmad has received numerous research awards, including three best paper awards at leading conferences and the 2007 best paper award for IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, IEEE Service Appreciation Award, and 2008 Outstanding Area Editor Award from the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology.

His current research is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Science Foundation, SRC, Department of Education, and several companies. He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the new Journal, Sustainable Computing: Informatics and Systems, and co-founder of the International Green Computing Conference (IGCC). He is an editor of the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, and Hindawi Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.