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Cutting the Power in Data Centers

Makers of servers and their processors get together to reduce the wasted watts (and sell some new hardware, too)

4 min read

20 September 2007—In an age of online shopping, video games, and banking—media and high-tech companies are struggling to keep up with soaring information demand. Big Internet firms such as Yahoo and Google have recently been on a data-center construction binge. But running server-crammed rooms without a glitch and keeping them from reaching boiling temperatures is not cheap. Powering and cooling data centers in the United States cost about US $4.5 billion in electricity bills in 2006, according to a reporton server and data-center energy efficiency that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented to Congress on 2 August.

Some computing heavyweights are already working on a solution. On 14 August, microprocessor maker Advanced Micro Devices convened a panel of IT and power supply vendors in Cambridge, Mass., in an attempt to nail down the hurdles to increasing data-center energy efficiency. Earlier this year AMD also initiated a consortium called the Green Grid to get the IT industry’s brains working together on reducing data-center power consumption. The Green Grid’s members include such big players as Intel—AMD’s archrival—and Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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