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With the proviso that it's hard to really know (and some folks don't trust the IEA) the International Energy Association estimates that data centers use 1% of global energy, but that this amount hasn't risen in several years, even as data centers have been serving more data and running more cycles every year

So, total power use remains flat

That would suggest they're getting generally more efficient every year, which I would believe ...

.. because lot of server-farm load work is susceptible to being improved with better software/processes/algorithms

And while those big tech firms are, alas, superb at breaking social systems by injecting efficiencies into them that hypermetastize social harms ...

... they're also excellent at increasing efficiencies in all systems where it's possible, including power use

(Sorry, that should have been "hypermetastasize")

@clive Don't have his papers offhand, but a non-IEA source on this would be John Koomey at the Rocky Mountain Institute. He's done a lot of work around electricity use in IT.

@jordantcarlson

Aha, thank you! I'm always looking for more sources on this

@clive No problem! I know him from birdsite, don't think he's over here. But he does good, and very thorough, work.

@clive I spoke with a google HW engineer last week. He said improvements to their code bases were done with an eye towards computational efficiencies that would save watts when scaled over long time frames. Minimazing calculations.

@clive a flat 1% of the growing global power consumption still means an absolute increase in power consumption by data centers; although it does sound like increased efficiency is reducing the speed of the growth :) I’d also be interested in knowing how they allocate energy consumption when the cooling water is used to heat homes https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/08/sustainable-data-centre-heating/

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