Google's data centers are consuming 15 percent less power, thanks to the company's artificial intelligence department, DeepMind.
By using a machine-learning algorithm, DeepMind has managed to cut the energy consumption of data centers by a hefty margin. As a reminder, data centers are the facilities hosting equipment that process the data consumed by internet users. The servers are running 24/7 and are power-hungry systems that need to remain cool at all times to ensure proper functioning. That is why some companies choose colder climates to build their newer data centers.
Insiders familiar with the matter estimate that up to 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions could be linked to the functioning of data centers worldwide.
"Being able to put a dent in that benefits the world in general," says Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind.
DeepMind's AI makes use of a general purpose algorithm that crunches huge amounts of historical data collected by sensors and turns it into a plan to optimize temperature and power consumption. The algorithm, which resembles the one that taught DeepMind to play Atari games, lowered cooling costs by 40 percent.
Suleyman is confident that aside from the financial advantage to the company, the algorithm will impact the environment in a measurable and consistent way. He goes on to say that Google aims to implement the system all across its data centers until the end of 2016.
What is more, DeepMind's success will be featured in a White Paper for all the world to get a glimpse of the system's details.
"We are planning to roll out this system more broadly," Google says.
Suleyman notes that Google is in talks with third-party partners that might want to implement the algorithm in their own facilities and even national power networks. Other data centers and industrial manufacturers could benefit from the efficient power management, the company writes in the blog post.
The results also underline the flexibility and future potential of DeepMind. Not only can the AI detect eye disease and defeat world-class champions in a game of Go, but it can also perform behind-the-scenes tasks that save money and the environment in one move.
In 2015, Google was the biggest corporate purchaser of green energy, and it is on an upward trend that aims to power all its operations with renewables by 2025.
Last year, Greenpeace commended big names in tech such as Google, Facebook and Apple for their increased commitment to using green energy to power up their data centers.