Optimizing Server CPUs by Looking at Cellphones
Behind every video, every image, every link, and anything else on the Internet is at least one server crunching some numbers. The better the servers can crunch numbers, the faster the Internet can perform for us, but are modern server CPUs really the best tool for that number crunching. According to the researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the answer is no, they are not, but fortunately they have a suggestion for what is.
When you load a site like Overclockers Club, there is some amount of processing required, but mostly that processing is just to find and retrieve information from data storage. Such actions are much simpler than a Google search or multiplayer-game transmission, yet the same processors perform all of these operations, and that is what the researchers suggest changing. Instead of the traditional server CPU the researchers believe a processor containing multiple cellphone CPUs would be better. These processors, though less powerful when put head-to-head, are still plenty for retrieving a site's data and are so much smaller than traditional CPU cores that more of them could fit in a single processor, thereby enabling more requests to be handled at once.
The impetus for this research was not to improve server performance but server efficiency, as it is estimated that server farms currently account for 2% of the world's electrical consumption. By using the more efficient cellphone CPUs the researchers believe a server's power requirements could be quartered, which could put a sizeable dent in that 2% estimate.