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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

JouleSort: A Balanced Energy-Efficiency Benchmark

The energy efficiency of computer systems is an important
concern in a variety of contexts. In data centers, reducing
energy use improves operating cost, scalability, reliability,
and other factors. For mobile devices, energy consumption
directly affects functionality and usability. We propose and
motivate JouleSort, an external sort benchmark, for evaluating
the energy efficiency of a wide range of computer systems
from clusters to handhelds. We list the criteria, challenges,
and pitfalls from our experience in creating a fair energyefficiency
benchmark. Using a commercial sort, we demonstrate
a JouleSort system that is over 3.5x as energy-efficient
as last year’s estimated winner. This system is quite different
from those currently used in data centers. It consists of
a commodity mobile CPU and 13 laptop drives, connected
by server-style I/O interfaces.

Read the paper here.

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