So I was reading this article on the most green companies in America when I came across Nvidia. I was looking at some of the company’s statistics on sustainability, and they were pretty impressive. In 2010, it accomplished a goal of diverting 76% of its waste from landfills. It also developed full time positions solely dedicated to making its data centers more energy-efficient. Finally, the company’s newest building features an aluminum frame made of more than 25% recycled material, green certified furniture, and even energy-efficient carpets.
Now, if you’ve never heard of the company before (I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the case), they make GPU’s for all different kinds of computing platforms. And despite all of Nvidia’s initiatives to promote sustainability within the company, none of them contributed to the reason that I decided to write about the company. Instead, I was much more interested in what they make, and how that relates to energy conservation in a power hungry world. GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. Basically, it is a dedicated chip that exists in devices that focuses on processing graphics. This includes everything from videos on youtube to very intensive video games. Nvidia was the first company to invent this now ubiquitous chip. The way in which is has changed the computing landscape is more than what meets the eye. Since the GPU is specifically designed to handle what it handles, the CPU, which traditionally took on those calculations, is free to deal with all of the other things required to make a computer work. With a GPU, a computer runs more efficiently. A more efficient computer means that it requires less energy to run. A computer that requires less energy to run makes for a happy world. With how prominent devices like smartphones are becoming, the role of the GPU in energy-efficient design will only become more important. The good news is that companies like Nvidia are not resting on their laurels. A quick search on google scholar and tech sites gave me a laundry list of articles which talked about the benefits and future of the GPU. It seems that future iterations of the chip will be constructed to consume even less power. Nvidia is about more than just promoting green initiatives within the company. It is green by design.