|Alcatel-Lucent Green Touch initiative aims at 1000-fold improvement in energy efficiency|
Alcatel-Lucent’s research division, Bell Labs, has put together Green Touch, a global consortium organized with the goal of creating technologies needed to make communications networks a thousand times more energy efficient than they are today, which would mean being able to power the world’s communications networks, including the Internet, for three years using the same amount of energy that it currently takes to run them for a single day.
The initiative unifies leaders of industry, academia and government labs with the aim of inventing and delivering radical new approaches to energy efficiency that will be at the heart of sustainable networks in the decades to come. It has also issued an open invitation to members of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) community to join forces and help it reach this ambitious target.
The 1000-fold efficiency target is based on research from Bell Labs that determined contemporary information and communication technology (ICT) networks to have the potential of being 10,000 times more efficient than what they are today. This conclusion has its roots in a Bell Labs’ analysis of the fundamental properties of ICT networks and technologies (optical, wireless, electronics, processing, routing, and architecture) and studying their physical limits by applying established formulas such as Shannon’s Law 1.
Gee Tittenhouse, VP of research at Bell and consortium lead said that with billions of people uploading and sharing video, images and information over networks over the next decade, ICT usage would logically dramatically increase. This, in turn would cause an exponential growth in ICT energy consumption that needs to be addressed jointly, as an industry. “This consortium is unique in looking way beyond making incremental efficiency improvements and tapping into innovation and expertise from around the globe to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in ICT carbon emissions reduction,” he said.
Jeong Kim, President, Bell Labs, said “What we are witnessing is a fundamental shift in thinking about ICT from a focus on optimizing networks for maximum capacity to optimizing them for energy efficiency. The consortium we are forming serves as a major milestone along the path toward a future where the potential of communications networks to meet the demands of their users and benefit society is inextricably linked to our success in achieving environmental sustainability by reducing energy consumption.”
Green Touch founding members include AT&T, China Mobile, Portugal Telecom, Swisscom, Telefonica, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE), Stanford University’s Wireless Systems Lab (WSL), the University of Melbourne’s Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES), The CEA-LETI Applied Research Institute for Microelectronics (Grenoble, France), The Foundation for Mobile Communications (Portugal), imec (Headquarters: Leuven, Belgium), The French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA), Bell Labs, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), and Freescale Semiconductor.
To support its objectives the Green Touch Initiative will deliver -- within five years –– a reference network architecture and demonstrations of the key components required to realize this improvement. This initiative also offers the potential to generate new technologies and new areas of industry. The first meeting of the consortium will take place in February and will be dedicated to establishing the organization’s five-year plan, first-year deliverables, and member roles and responsibilities.