€3m US-Ireland project to build future chips for data centres

18 Mar 2016

A new €3m tripartite research project with the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland has been announced to build chip technology that will make data centres process data faster and become more efficient, energy-wise.

Data centres remain the focus of much research by those working in an electronics field, with an ever-present need for vast data centres not just to be faster at processing vast amounts of information on a daily basis, but to seek to lower demands for energy. As it stands, it is anticipated that Ireland alone will need 1GW of power for centres by 2020.

To this end, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced a new three-way partnership between the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to improve the agility of high-bandwidth optical connections that support high-capacity cloud applications while also reducing energy consumption and cost.

The news comes following an event hosted by SFI to celebrate collaboration between Ireland and the US as part of St Patrick’s Day celebrations that also saw the awarding of two St Patrick’s Day Medals to Dr Craig Barrett and physicist Prof Séamus Davis for their contributions to science and technology in Ireland.

Developing next generation of data centres

The project will link academic institutions and leading researchers in Ireland and the US, including Dublin City University (DCU), Tyndall Institute/University College Cork (UCC), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Ulster University.

One of those working on the project will be Prof Liam Barry of DCU, principal investigator at the Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) and CONNECT, who says this project will help develop the next generation of data centres.

“The development of optical and photonic technologies will be key to enable the next generation internet and data centres that can handle the massive predicted increase in data transfer,” he said.

“This project will draw on expertise covering photonic devices to optical network architectures across the research centres in Ireland and the US, which will allow us to provide holistic solutions for future data centres.”

Data centre wiring image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic