AI takes over at Google’s data centres

The technology firm is using the technology at a number of its facilities to optimise energy consumption

Google has put artificial intelligence (AI) in charge of keeping its data centres cool.

The technology firm’s DeepMind division has replaced human-controlled climate management with an AI system able to directly control data centre energy usage.

While remaining under the supervision of the company’s data centre operators, the cloud-based control system has already successfully delivered power savings in a number of facilities.

Every five minutes, thousands of sensors in the data centre cooling system pass a snapshot of what’s happening into “deep neural networks”, which predict how different combinations of potential actions will affect future energy consumption.

The AI system then identifies which actions will effectively minimise usage while adhering to a strict set of safety constraints.

Those actions are sent back to the data centre, before being verified by the local control system and then implemented.

The system is already delivering average energy savings of around 30%, with further expected improvements as it continues to learn.

Dan Fuenffinger, Data Centre Operator at Google, said: “It was amazing to see the AI learn to take advantage of winter conditions and produce colder than normal water, which reduces the energy required for cooling within the data centre. Rules don’t get better over time but AI does.”

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