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Increasing Energy Savings from DICE Desktops

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Description: This project aims to assess and if necessary improve the effectiveness of energy-saving measures on DICE desktops. It builds on project 94 which delivered the LCFG sleep component.

Deliverables: A data feed of statistics showing the sleep rates of DICE desktops; possible improvements in the LCFG sleep component; possible improvements in the energy-saving guidance given to users of DICE desktops


Customer: The School of Informatics and the University of Edinburgh should benefit from lower energy bills and a lower environmental impact.

Case statement: For some years the DICE desktops in the student labs have used energy-saving sleep software, the LCFG sleep component, which was developed in project 94. More recently the sleep component was also installed on staff and postgrad DICE desktops. We should now follow up on this work by finding out how successful it has been and what might be done to increase the energy savings. The project would start by collecting statistics from
machines to see how much of the time they are asleep - in other words
trying to understand how much of a contribution that sleep might be
making to energy saving. Depending on what the statistics say, some
changes to the LCFG sleep component could be made or users could be informed
about how to get their machines to sleep.

Gathering the statistics should be straightforward as machines running the sleep component currently log when they enter and exit from a sleep state. The statistics could be made available not just for this project but also for other purposes. For instance it may well be useful and interesting to use them to produce periodic graphs of desktop sleep rates, or to calculate monetary savings.

There is at least one obvious change which could be made to the sleep component: it currently lacks a way to find out the idleness of a machine's keyboard and mouse. This means that the sleep component has been conservatively configured to avoid suspending any machine which has an X session in progress. Adding such a capability, and safely sleeping idle machines running a user X session, could be a way to increase machine sleep substantially.

As for explanations for users, we already have some blog posts and a page of guidance for DICE desktop users on machine sleep but this could be expanded and made more detailed if necessary. It could perhaps also be publicised more widely from time to time.








Resources: Estimate of 2 weeks effort, and temporary use of a few DICE desktop machines.






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