Watts, MIPs, and Google

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Last night a few hundred assorted New York geeks packed into Google’s new Chelsea offices to hear Google engineer Luiz Barroso discuss “Watts, Faults, and Other Fascinating Dirty Words Computer Architects Can No Longer Afford to Ignore.” Capsule version: While CPU power has been increasing regularly, for the last fifteen years or so MIPs per watt may actually have been going down. At the very least, it has not been growing nearly as fast as total processing power per server. The good news is that since we haven’t really bothered to optimize our computers for energy efficiency there’s still a lot of low-hanging fruit left to pick off in this space.