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Energy Efficiency In Computers Doubles Every 18 Months

September 13th, 2011 · No Comments

A recent study by Standford University engineering professor Jonathan Koomey revealed that energy efficiency in computers doubles every 18 months.

ENIAC Computer
Computer energy efficiency has improved significantly since the very first general purpose computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) built in 1946.

In 1965, Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel described a long-term trend in the history of computing observing that computer processing power doubles every two years. This observation became what is known as Moore’s Law.

It appears that it’s not just processing power that has increased exponentially in computing over the years. A recent study by Standford University engineering professor Jonathan Koomey revealed that since the pioneering days of those room-sized computers in the 1950s up to the present, computer energy efficiency doubles approximately every 18 months.

The observation, which writers are starting to call as “Koomey’s Law” came from a study conducted by Professor Koomey in collaboration with Microsoft and Intel, released last July.

The researchers found out that the factors that increase computing power — miniaturization, increased circuit capacity, and lightning fast connections– are also the same factors that contribute to the improvement in energy efficiency. The more our computers become powerful, the less power they consume!

The finding is considered extremely significant to manufacturers as it adds a degree of predictability to their planning and design for improved power efficiency in the next several years.

Moore’s Law has been the main driving force in the war between tech companies to come up with latest and fastest gadgets every 18 months or so. This has resulted in a virtual deluge of electronic junk or ewaste and while computer recycling has increased tremendously these past few years, ewaste is still a major environmental problem in Western countries today.

The current trend, however, is that consumers are concerned not just about increased computing speed but about getting more juice and life from their batteries and about consuming less power.

Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT has this to say about Prof. Koomey’s discovery:

“I think that’s [energy efficiency] more and more the dimension that matters to consumers. And in a sense, ‘Koomey’s law,’ this trend of power consumption, is beginning to eclipse Moore’s law for what matters to consumers in a lot of applications.”

via: Technology Review

Tags: Computer Recycling