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Is Your Algorithm Green? June 14, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in computers, physics life.

I was debugging some code of mine and I realized that it was very stupidly using lots of extra CPU cycles. Of course, with modern processors, cycles equals power. Modern CPU’s use less power when they are idle. Does that mean my algorithm is bad for the environment? I’ve never though of particle physics from that point of view!

N.B. I had a lot of wine for dinner.



1. Lisa Smith - August 14, 2008

That’s funny. You could look at just about any computer operation that way. I do a lot of audio mixing/engineering, and in that environment too, there’s a slight sense of accomplishment when a song treads lightly on the processor. The more plugins and tools one uses to enhance sound, the more memory required to bounce the song. Although there are certain laws of mixing you wouldn’t want to ignore, a “low-maintenance mix” begins with good input in the first place…. well-recorded audio or well-written code…. Instead of carbon footprints, what’s your digital footprint on this world?

2. gordonwatts - August 14, 2008

Lisa – True – and that also holds for digital photography, actually! And cooking (at least the “you start with the better ingredients, you finish with a better dish”).

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