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Cool solution for the white heat of technology

This approach is important for data centres seeking to meet the growing computational demands of AI.

A data center: Network cables plugged into a server. — © Michael Bocchieri/AFP/Getty Images
A data center: Network cables plugged into a server. — © Michael Bocchieri/AFP/Getty Images

The rapid growth of AI is escalating power demands and sustainability challenges for data centres. As a consequence, traditional cooling methods are struggling to keep up with the increased thermal output of high-performance CPUs and GPUs.

A recent article by Dr. Kelley Mullick, Vice President of Technology Advancement and Alliances at Iceotope Technologies, explores a more efficient solution that effectively manages heat and reduces energy consumption.

This describes tests performed by Iceotope Labs which show that single-phase liquid cooling can cool next-generation chips to 1500W, offering a future-proof method that enhances operational efficiency and aligns with sustainability goals.

This approach is important for data centres seeking to meet the growing computational demands of AI while maintaining environmental responsibility.

Dr. Kelley Mullick explains to Digital Journal what the current dilemma is: “Much of the initial focus has been on capacity as wholesale space in most major global data centre markets is limited due to a “land grab” by cloud providers to support AI workloads.”

In addition, Mullick explains: “What is also emerging are constraints on power infrastructure and the ability to meet sustainability objectives caused by AI. Global headlines across Europe, Asia and the US are showcasing the tension between power, sustainability, and data center growth. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that global electricity demand, driven by AI growth, is set to double by 2026.”

And more specifically: “Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are particularly concerned about TCO optimization as they grapple with the implications of AI on their operations. Similarly, telco operators in Europe and Asia prioritize improving TCO and sustainability while relying on data centres to support AI-driven services.”

In terms of solutions for data centres, Mullick describes; “Liquid cooling systems offer a more efficient means of dissipating heat compared to air cooling methods. By circulating a coolant fluid directly over the hottest components, heat is rapidly transferred away, maintaining optimal operating temperatures for AI systems. As chips continue to get hotter, data center operators need to know they are future proofing their infrastructure investment for 1000W CPUs and GPUs and beyond.

With the specific activities, Mullick describes: “Iceotope Labs recently conducted tests to validate how single-phase liquid cooling technology, like Precision Liquid Cooling, can go beyond the perceived 1000W limit to compete head-to-head with other cooling technologies. Initially, the testing showed that single-phase liquid cooling demonstrated a constant thermal resistance at a given flow rate as the power was increased from 250W to 1000W.”

Beyond this, Mullick details: “A second round of testing found continued consistent thermal resistance up to 1500W – a threshold not yet met within the industry. It is exciting to see these results as they showcase single-phase liquid cooling technology as an indispensable solution for effectively managing the escalating thermal demands of AI workloads in data centres.”

Summarizing the technology and the solution, Mullick concludes: “Liquid cooling efficiently dissipates heat from high computational power and denser hardware configurations, addressing the thermal challenges of AI and optimizing performance, energy efficiency, and hardware reliability. It’s indispensable for AI workloads and key to unlocking their future.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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