Lancium Compute: Green-Powered Cloud; The Lack of Green Data Centers

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McBroom, Samuel, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Grimshaw, Andrew, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Elliott, Travis, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Over the last few decades, we have transitioned from a society ignorant of its impacts on the Earth to one which recognizes the fragility of global ecosystems and has adopted a more sustainable development path. However, we still rely on technologies and system designs that reflect the demands of some stakeholder groups, while ignoring the negative environmental ramifications which affect communities worldwide. Modern data center designs produce numerous pollutants, which will only worsen as data center demand increases. Recently, novel data center designs have been implemented which are not only better for the planet, but are cheaper to operate. My thesis applies the SCOT STS framework to analyze the factors that popularized the computing power-focused designs and to explain the lack of green data centers in the computing landscape. I also argue that these environmentally friendly designs will replace traditional designs in the near future out of necessity.
For my capstone research project, my team and I built a new web interface for Lancium, a green data center provider. Our goal was to rebuild Lancium’s web interface to encompass the existing API functionality. By providing a convenient API interface without requiring the users to install software on their computer or learn the API scripting interface, we aimed to make Lancium’s clean computing resources accessible to a wider audience, leading to more widespread adoption of greener designs and practices in the field of computing. My thesis, which was directly inspired by my technical project, explores questions that arose after learning about the benefits of Lancium’s design. My ultimate goal throughout the capstone project and thesis was to both highlight green initiatives and the feasibility of environmentally friendly alternatives in the data center industry to hopefully prevent further harm to our pale blue dot.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
scot, social construction of technology, green computing, green cloud, green data centers, data centers, cloud, sustainability

School of Engineering and Applied Science Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Andrew Grimshaw
STS Advisor: Travis Elliott
Technical Team Members: Courtney Jacobs

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