SC22 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

Birds of a Feather Archive

Carbon-Neutrality and HPC

Authors: Jason Hick (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)), Gert Svensson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden), Genna Waldvogel (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)), Fumiyoshi Shoji (RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS)), Natalie Bates (Energy Efficient HPC Working Group), Norman Bourassa (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)), Esa Heiskanen (CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd, Finland), Steve Bruno (US Department of Energy)

Abstract: Data centers consume nearly 1% of global electricity demand, contributing to 0.3% of all global CO2 emissions and this is expected to rise without proactive steps. Tempting as it may be to point the finger at big tech, the truth is that users of various sizes all have had a hand in the increase in data centers’ workloads. How can the HPC community do our part to drive down greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing the computing power needed to support our mission and services as promised?

Long Description: Topic: Setting expectations and attaining results in reducing greenhouse gas emissions for HPC.

Goals: - Start building a global community of experts, enthusiasts, managers, policy makers and anyone else who is interested or responsible for setting expectations and attaining results in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in both HPC systems and data centers. - Solicit information from participants: name, email, high-level interests and expertise.

Scope and relevance to SC Technical Program:

Until recently, the community has been very aware of energy efficiency, but we have turned a corner. Beyond energy efficiency, there is now a very strong interest in green-house gas reduction and other sustainability concerns (e.g., water usage, heat re-use). An HPC system and a data center can be very energy efficient. This is necessary, but it may not be sufficient for attaining carbon-neutrality. What needs to be done to get to the next level? Heat re-use, renewables, cloud computing, carbon-friendly locations? This topic is of great interest to the policy makers and there are policies mandated at the federal level that are affecting most countries that have large supercomputers. In some cases, these policies have resulted in initial discussion between supercomputing centers that are funded by a common federal agency (e.g., US DOE). What has not yet occurred, however, is bringing together interested people from supercomputing centers in the more general community. HPC centers are unique among data centers. Liquid cooling is better than air cooling for heat re-use, for example. SC is an excellent venue for gathering people across the globe from all aspects of the HPC community, including operations managers and policy makers.

There have been three HPC focused workshops in the past year that have covered sustainability as one of the session topics. For example, the Energy Efficient HPC WG Workshop held in May, 2022 had a Sustainability Panel Session moderated by Jim Rogers from ORNL with panelists Steve Hammond from NREL, Johnny Dicus from the US DOE and Mark Monroe, Microsoft. These workshops had at least 100 people in attendance. The reviews for this and the other sustainability related sessions showed that all reviewers found them to be very or somewhat valuable.

Audience interactivity, community building and audience draw:

A community has started to build through several different regional specific forums and this BoF will serve to strengthen that community, extending it to one with a global reach. One of the most active regional forums is the DOE Energy Facility Contractor Group's (EFCOG) Sustainability and Environmental Sub-Group (SESG) led by Steve Bruno. The purpose of this forum is to share sustainable solutions amongst participants, which include DOE HPC sites for the Office of Science and NNSA. We will use this forum for outreach and audience draw. We will also do outreach through the 850+ members of the Energy Efficient HPC Working Group via announcements and email. The EE HPC WG has a booth at SC22 and this BoF will be highlighted in that booth.


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