New Computer Gate Can Make Server Farms More Energy Efficient

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

north carolina state university researchers develop new floating gate to boost computer efficiencyComputer servers and data centers burn through a big chunk of power in the U.S., so boosting the energy efficiency of computers is a national priority when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers at North Carolina State University just might have found a way to push the effort up to the next level. They’ve come up with an energy efficient memory device that combines two functions, by packing two “floating gates” into one.

Floating Gates and Memory Devices

In conventional computing, there are two kinds of memory devices. One kind is used to store data. It employs a “floating gate” as a placeholder for the 1 or 0 that makes up one bit of data. It holds onto that bit even when the computer is off. A second device is used to perform operations. It stores data while the operation is running, but loses it when the computer is shut down.

Doubling Floating Gates and Energy Efficiency

The North Carolina team calls its new memory device the Double Floating-gate Effect Transistor. Instead of a single gate, it contains one for long term data storage, and one to perform operations. The advantages for energy efficiency are significant. Individual computers could boot up immediately, and large server farms could be powered down during low-use periods, and powered back up during peak periods.

Many Paths to More Efficient Computers

One question regarding double-gate technology is durability, but the research team is confident that the new device will hold up. In the mean time, advances in energy efficiency are moving forward on other fronts. One example is Yahoo’s infamous “chicken coop” data center, which reduced energy costs by about 40 percent simply by using ambient air to help cool the servers.  A data center in California uses a similar high efficiency cooling system combined with elaborate water conservation measures, and researchers at federal laboratories are also working on energy-saving cooling strategies.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica TV Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3237 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey