Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Green Computing grant applications due next week

Applications are due Feb. 20 for the final round of Climate Savers Computing Initiative @ U-M (CSCI @ U-M) Unit Funding Grants. University departments can apply to receive funds of $500-$5,000 to make green computing changes in their areas to conserve energy and natural resources. Awards will be given March 15. Faculty and staff can apply online.

The goal of the program is to help save energy and natural resources, specifically through better usage of information technology. CSCI @ U-M has funded four green computing unit initiatives.

Manhong Dai, lead programmer analyst at the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI), used a grant to reduce the energy drain at the Depression Center.

Desktops no longer will use energy while idle, but power down instead. The savings equals about 2,304 kilowatts each month and at least $3,000 in annual electricity costs.

Dai believes the computer code he wrote to automatically shut down the desktops easily can be applied to desktops across campus.

“Making your own configurations for clusters is harder, but do-able,” he says. “The principals are the same and the software cost is zero.”

Ruth Freedman, MBNI chief administrator officer, forwarded Dai an e-mail about CSCI @ U-M unit funding opportunities. Dai was quick to apply to expand on energy-saving efforts he began six years ago after he solved a server overheating problem by writing a similar script.

The Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the College of Engineering; Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care; and School of Natural Resources and Environment were the other units to receive funding in January.

“The decision of which units to fund didn’t come easily,” says Roxy Block, CSCI @ U-M project manager and member of the Unit Funding Team. “There were more than 20 applicants with various ideas for their specific units needs. We selected those that will have the best influence on campus.”

To learn more about other green computing projects go to