CS 290N: Green Computing


Time: Tue/Thu 9-11
Room: Phelps 1401
Instructor: Prof. Fred Chong; office hours by appointment; Eng I 5163

This course examines "Green Computing" from a systems perspective, but will attempt to draw from multiple disciplines such as mechanical engineering, industrial ecology, and economics. We will explore energy efficient system designs ranging from datacenters to embedded devices. We will perform Life Cycle Analysis on some of these systems, evaluating the carbon footprint of manufacturing, use, and disposal of each design.


The Datacenter as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines. Luiz Andre Barroso, Urs Holzle


  • Problem Sets 25%
  • Discussion Topics 20%
  • Project Proposals and Drafts 15%
  • Project Final Report 40%

    Discussion Information

  • Assign a paper for the class to read, one week before your discussion day.
  • Present the paper and supplemental material on your assigned day. Lead discussion, with my help, on the subject.

    Problem Set Information

    For each assigned paper, write up the following and e-mail to me *before* class(please put "290N" in the subject):
  • A summary of the main points of the paper.
  • A critique of any shortcomings of the paper.
  • Any ideas on how one would extend the ideas in the paper or address its shortcomings.

    Project Information

    Here is an example project paper. The project has two goals:
  • A critique of three related research papers. This is not a book report. Do not just summarize what is in the papers. Point out shortcomings and possible areas for extension.
  • Extension of the area. Address shortcomings or extend the work in the papers. Come up with some ideas and test them with a short project. This can be in the form of some simple analysis, study of application attributes, small machine simulations, or implementation on parallel machines. Remember to pick something that will fit in a quarter.

    Ideally, both goals would be well-addressed in a project. Since we only have a quarter, however, you may emphasize one or the other.


  • Lecture 1 (1/5/10): Introduction to Sustainable Computer Design


    Reading for next time: Ch 1 and 4 Barroso and Holzle

  • Lecture 2 (1/7/10): Datacenter Basics


    Reading for next time: Power Provisioning.
    Ch 5 Barroso and Holzle

  • Lecture 3 (1/12/10): Power Provisioning


    Reading for next time: Cloud Computing Study.

  • Lecture 4 (1/14/10): The Carbon Footprint of Cloud Computing


    EPA on LCA (optional reading) .

    Reading for next time: Design for Warehouse Workloads.

  • Lecture 5 (1/19/10): Design for Warehouse Workloads


    Reading for next time: No power struggles.

  • Lecture 6 (1/21/10): Coordinated optimization

    Slides 1.

    Slides 2.

    Readings for next time (2): Tape Storage. Datacenter Storage.

  • Lecture 7 (1/26/10): Tape vs Disk Storage

    Slides 1.

    Slides 2.

    Reading for next time: Ambient Air Cooling.

  • Lecture 8 (1/28/10): Datacenter Cooling

    Reading for next time: e-mailed to group

  • Lecture 9 (2/2/10): Barely-Alive Servers

    Reading for next time: FLASH disk.

  • Lecture (2/4/10): FLASH

    Reading for next time: Application disk behavior.

    Optional reading for next time: Intra-disk Parallelism.

  • Lecture 10 (2/9/10): Application Disk Behavior

    Reading for next time: Energy of Computer Manufacturing.

    Optional reading for next time: Technology for Developing Regions.

  • Lecture 11 (2/11/10): Energy of Computer Manufacturing

    Reading for next time: Health Applications for Mobile Phones .

    Optional reading for next time: Energy Scavenging Devices.

  • Lecture 12 (2/16/10): Health Applications for Mobile Phones

    Reading for next time: Thermoelectric Cooling.

  • Lecture 13 (2/18/10): Superlattice local cooling

    Reading for next time: Phase-Change Memory.

  • Lecture 14 (2/23/10): Phase-Change Memory

    Reading for next time: Conserving Energy in Storage Systems.

  • Lecture 15 (2/25/10): Storage System Energy

    Reading for next time: Energy Use of Scientific Applications.

  • Lecture 16 (3/2/10): Energy Use of Scientific Applications

    Reading for next time:

  • Lecture 17 (3/4/10): Educational Applications of Mobile Phones

  • Final Projects (3/9/10):

  • Final Projects (3/11/10):

    Electricity Use of Handhelds.

    Smart Electrical Grids.

    Grid Energy Efficiency.


    A Datacenter Cost Model.

    Networking Energy.

    Last updated January 2010