Google DeepMind to save the world

Android, Google, silicone valley

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) department of Google, DeepMind, has managed to slash its enormous energy consumption by 15 per cent, in an effort to tackle both its bills and global warming.

You may have heard of DeepMind already, the British AI company bought for more than $600m by Google two years ago, after it famously beat the world champion at Go earlier this year.

It has now been revealed by Google to have helped cut the cost of cooling its vast, power-hungry data centres, by 40 per cent, as the company tries to make its server ‘farms’ become more environmentally friendly.

Billions of web searches, social media accounts and streamed films are powered by Google’s servers, with an estimated 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions believed to be caused by the technology giant’s servers.

DeepMind’s AI system uses algorithms to manage the data centres more efficiently than humans can, as it predicts the incoming computational load more accurately than humans. In short, it works out when the highest amount of data is going to be requested by users and quickly ensures it is matched to the cooling load that the data centre will require to cope with the requests.

Although Google did not disclose the amount of energy used by its data centres, as an entire company it is responsible for 0.01 per cent of worldwide electricity use, the company revealed. Lots of that electricity use will be due to its data centres, so it is high on the agenda to find ways to reduce this power usage.

Mustafa Suleyman, DeepMind’s co-founder, said: “I really think this is just the beginning. There are lots more opportunities to find efficiencies in data centre infrastructure. One of the most exciting things is the kind of algorithms we develop are inherently general… that means the same machine learning system should be able to perform well in a wide variety of environments.”