Green Consortium Pursues Ambitious Goals

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2010-01-11

A global consortium organized by Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs plans to "create the technologies needed to make communications networks 1000 times more energy-efficient than they are today," the group said in a Jan. 11 news release.

The target comes from "Bell Labs' analysis of the fundamental properties of ICT [Information and Communication Technology] networks and technologies (optical, wireless, electronics, processing, routing and architecture) and studying their physical limits by applying established formulas," the release said. It continued:

"A thousand-fold reduction is roughly equivalent to being able to power the world's communications networks, including the Internet, for three years using the same amount of energy that it currently takes to run them for a single day."

The consortium is called the Green Touch initiative and founding members include service providers AT&T, China Mobile, Portugal Telecom, Swisscom and Telefonica; research labs at MIT, Stanford University's Wireless Systems Lab and the University of Melbourne's Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society; government and nonprofit research institutes such as the CEA-LETI Applied Research Institute for Microelectronics and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control; and industrial labs at Bell, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology and Freescale Semiconductor.

"Truly global challenges have always been best addressed by bringing together the brightest minds in an unconstrained, creative environment. This was what we used when putting a man on the moon and is the same approach we need to implement to address the global climate crisis," Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement.

"With its launch, the consortium also has issued an open invitation to all members of the [ICT] community to join forces in reaching this ambitious target," the group said.

According to Green Touch, the consortium "will deliver-within five years-a reference network architecture and demonstrations of the key components required to realize this improvement. This initiative also offers the potential to generate new technologies and new areas of industry.

"The first meeting of the consortium will take place in February and will be dedicated to establishing the organization's five-year plan, first-year deliverables, and member roles and responsibilities."

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