New Sustainability Research from Hyperion Reveals Shifting Priorities for HPC

May 22, 2023

In April 2023, Hyperion Research conducted a survey sponsored by Dell Technologies, Intel, and NVIDIA regarding sustainability for high performance computing (HPC). The goal of the survey was to gain insights into the sustainability efforts in HPC, determine user prioritization of sustainability and energy efficiency in procurement decisions as well learn what sustainability initiatives are being considered throughout the HPC community. This article provides information on the Hyperion Research 2023 survey along with suggestions on what organizations need to consider in creating a sustainable, energy efficient data center. According to Jaclyn Ludema, Lead Sustainability Analyst, Hyperion Research, “This Hyperion Research study finds evidence of a remarkable rise of sustainability and energy efficiency to the top of priority lists for many HPC datacenter procurement plans, second only to performance, even a higher priority than price. A culmination of several geopolitical factors and HPC utilization trends in recent years has made the issue of sustainability unavoidable for many HPC sites.”

How the survey was conducted

The survey had worldwide coverage with a strong focus on international sites and focused on sustainability questions relating to HPC, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and results of using HPC. Data was collected via direct interviews and surveys of HPC and Cloud Service Provider (CSP) data center managers, directors or leads as well as scientists, researchers, and engineers.

Sustainability motivators

Survey results show that 57% of respondents were motivated by the idea of wanting to do more with less by expanding computing capabilities with lower power usage. As the number of AI, machine learning (ML) and high performance data analytics (HPDA) workloads performed on HPC systems continues to increase, the drive to expand computing capabilities is coming up against the cost of required energy. 48% of respondents cited Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals as a sustainability motivator. ESG goals of companies/organizations recognize the widespread benefits of prioritizing sustainability, not just in regard to costs of operations. 33% of those surveyed say they are encountering prohibitive energy costs, pointing to a more acute issue. Government regulation was cited twice as frequently in North America and EMEA as a sustainability motivator than in the APJ region.
Impact of energy costs

55% of respondents say that energy costs are impacting the level of investment available to them for new HPC systems. This percentage holds across the industry, government, and academia sectors.

When asked if energy costs impact operations within their HPC data centers, 58% of respondents indicated multiple impacts including:

  • 60% say energy costs will defer the purchase of new systems
  • 43% say energy costs will limit the capabilities of current systems
  • 34% say energy costs will reduce operational hours
  • 14% of industry respondents say 25% or more of their current site budget is a result of addressing sustainability goals or energy efficiency

Moving to the cloud

The rise in popularity of HPC cloud services comes from a variety of factors, including the ability to outsource operational concerns such as energy costs and sourcing. With energy costs on the rise worldwide, the option to outsource energy costs to a CSP is expected to gain popularity. Paired with the global trend of new government regulation surrounding sustainability, sites are looking to CSPs to meet new energy efficiency requirements. This survey adds quantitative evidence of these cloud trends.

  • 76% of respondents say energy costs influence their adoption of public cloud resources (to a great extent for 33% of respondents)
  • 62% say government regulation influences their adoption of public cloud resources

Priorities in sustainability goals

When discussing efforts to meet sustainability goals, approaches vary widely across HPC sites depending upon budget, access to renewable energy sources, procurement timelines, and time allotted for energy efficiency innovation. The study respondents selected their top priorities in sustainability goals as follows:

  • 52% prioritize efficient hardware configuration (higher performance per watt)
  • 42% prioritize optimized cooling and power distribution
  • 34% prioritize optimized workloads (identifying efficient workloads on-premises and in the cloud)

Procuring more sustainable equipment is expected to be a part of regularly scheduled procurement plans for 48% of sites, while 20% of sites will expedite procurement plans and 18% will delay procurement plans for sustainable solutions.

The following figure shows the factors that respondents believe should be included in a sustainability matrix:

Source Hyperion Research, May 2023.

Energy tracking at survey sites

Nearly half (49%) of data centers in the survey say they are currently able to measure their carbon footprint, energy use or environmental impact. Sites that measure their carbon footprint, energy use or environmental impact are also able to track and report on progress towards sustainability progress, increasing the likelihood of success in sustainability efforts.

In terms of plans to prioritize telemetry, smart power management (telemetry) usage is on the rise. Within the next 18 months, the number of sites implementing smart power management will increase to 40% from 27% using it today.

What it takes to create an energy efficient data center

With an already burdened electric grid, growing climate change concerns and regulatory pressures, more companies are determined to find energy efficient data center solutions to help lower their carbon footprint while reducing costs to help increase the bottom line. Creating an energy efficient data center involves many considerations such as:

  • Renewable energy sourcing
  • Efficient hardware configuration
  • Optimized cooling technology
  • Intelligent platform management
  • Data center power management
  • Optimized workloads
  • Responsible equipment retirement


Making sustainability a major goal and reducing energy usage in HPC systems and data centers is critical as found in the April 2023 Hyperion report sponsored by Dell, Intel, and NVIDIA.  Dell Technologies is a leader in climate action, sustainability, and innovation. According to Dr. Alyson Freeman, Dell Sustainability Product Manager, Infrastructure Solutions, “As the number of data centers will continue to grow, our increasingly digital economy does not have to be at odds with a sustainable transition. In fact, intentionally building more efficient data processing ecosystems and energy-smart configurations results in reduced energy use, lower carbon emissions, overall better performance, lower long-term costs, optimized space and reduced infrastructure footprints, and reduced waste output.”

Download the whitepaper, survey report, and read the full summary of the new research on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency in HPC.   

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

Quantum Watchers – Terrific Interview with Caltech’s John Preskill by CERN

July 17, 2024

In case you missed it, there's a fascinating interview with John Preskill, the prominent Caltech physicist and pioneering quantum computing researcher that was recently posted by CERN’s department of experimental physi Read more…

Aurora AI-Driven Atmosphere Model is 5,000x Faster Than Traditional Systems

July 16, 2024

While the onset of human-driven climate change brings with it many horrors, the increase in the frequency and strength of storms poses an enormous threat to communities across the globe. As climate change is warming ocea Read more…

Researchers Say Memory Bandwidth and NVLink Speeds in Hopper Not So Simple

July 15, 2024

Researchers measured the real-world bandwidth of Nvidia's Grace Hopper superchip, with the chip-to-chip interconnect results falling well short of theoretical claims. A paper published on July 10 by researchers in the U. Read more…

Belt-Tightening in Store for Most Federal FY25 Science Budets

July 15, 2024

If it’s summer, it’s federal budgeting time, not to mention an election year as well. There’s an excellent summary of the curent state of FY25 efforts reported in AIP’s policy FYI: Science Policy News. Belt-tight Read more…

Peter Shor Wins IEEE 2025 Shannon Award

July 15, 2024

Peter Shor, the MIT mathematician whose ‘Shor’s algorithm’ sent shivers of fear through the encryption community and helped galvanize ongoing efforts to build quantum computers, has been named the 2025 winner of th Read more…

Weekly Wire Roundup: July 8-July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

HPC news can get pretty sleepy in June and July, but this week saw a bump in activity midweek as Americans realized they still had work to do after the previous holiday weekend. The world outside the United States also s Read more…

Aurora AI-Driven Atmosphere Model is 5,000x Faster Than Traditional Systems

July 16, 2024

While the onset of human-driven climate change brings with it many horrors, the increase in the frequency and strength of storms poses an enormous threat to com Read more…

Shutterstock 1886124835

Researchers Say Memory Bandwidth and NVLink Speeds in Hopper Not So Simple

July 15, 2024

Researchers measured the real-world bandwidth of Nvidia's Grace Hopper superchip, with the chip-to-chip interconnect results falling well short of theoretical c Read more…

Shutterstock 2203611339

NSF Issues Next Solicitation and More Detail on National Quantum Virtual Laboratory

July 10, 2024

After percolating for roughly a year, NSF has issued the next solicitation for the National Quantum Virtual Lab program — this one focused on design and imple Read more…

NCSA’s SEAS Team Keeps APACE of AlphaFold2

July 9, 2024

High-performance computing (HPC) can often be challenging for researchers to use because it requires expertise in working with large datasets, scaling the softw Read more…

Anders Jensen on Europe’s Plan for AI-optimized Supercomputers, Welcoming the UK, and More

July 8, 2024

The recent ISC24 conference in Hamburg showcased LUMI and other leadership-class supercomputers co-funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU), including three Read more…

Generative AI to Account for 1.5% of World’s Power Consumption by 2029

July 8, 2024

Generative AI will take on a larger chunk of the world's power consumption to keep up with the hefty hardware requirements to run applications. "AI chips repres Read more…

US Senators Propose $32 Billion in Annual AI Spending, but Critics Remain Unconvinced

July 5, 2024

Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, and three colleagues want the US government to spend at least $32 billion annually by 2026 for non-defense related AI systems.  T Read more…

Point and Click HPC: High-Performance Desktops

July 3, 2024

Recently, an interesting paper appeared on Arvix called Use Cases for High-Performance Research Desktops. To be clear, the term desktop in this context does not Read more…

Atos Outlines Plans to Get Acquired, and a Path Forward

May 21, 2024

Atos – via its subsidiary Eviden – is the second major supercomputer maker outside of HPE, while others have largely dropped out. The lack of integrators and Atos' financial turmoil have the HPC market worried. If Atos goes under, HPE will be the only major option for building large-scale systems. Read more…

Everyone Except Nvidia Forms Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Consortium

May 30, 2024

Consider the GPU. An island of SIMD greatness that makes light work of matrix math. Originally designed to rapidly paint dots on a computer monitor, it was then Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…


Nvidia Economics: Make $5-$7 for Every $1 Spent on GPUs

June 30, 2024

Nvidia is saying that companies could make $5 to $7 for every $1 invested in GPUs over a four-year period. Customers are investing billions in new Nvidia hardwa Read more…

Nvidia Shipped 3.76 Million Data-center GPUs in 2023, According to Study

June 10, 2024

Nvidia had an explosive 2023 in data-center GPU shipments, which totaled roughly 3.76 million units, according to a study conducted by semiconductor analyst fir Read more…

AMD Clears Up Messy GPU Roadmap, Upgrades Chips Annually

June 3, 2024

In the world of AI, there's a desperate search for an alternative to Nvidia's GPUs, and AMD is stepping up to the plate. AMD detailed its updated GPU roadmap, w Read more…

Some Reasons Why Aurora Didn’t Take First Place in the Top500 List

May 15, 2024

The makers of the Aurora supercomputer, which is housed at the Argonne National Laboratory, gave some reasons why the system didn't make the top spot on the Top Read more…

Intel’s Next-gen Falcon Shores Coming Out in Late 2025 

April 30, 2024

It's a long wait for customers hanging on for Intel's next-generation GPU, Falcon Shores, which will be released in late 2025.  "Then we have a rich, a very Read more…

Leading Solution Providers


Google Announces Sixth-generation AI Chip, a TPU Called Trillium

May 17, 2024

On Tuesday May 14th, Google announced its sixth-generation TPU (tensor processing unit) called Trillium.  The chip, essentially a TPU v6, is the company's l Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

IonQ Plots Path to Commercial (Quantum) Advantage

July 2, 2024

IonQ, the trapped ion quantum computing specialist, delivered a progress report last week firming up 2024/25 product goals and reviewing its technology roadmap. Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

Nvidia’s New Blackwell GPU Can Train AI Models with Trillions of Parameters

March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest and fastest GPU, codenamed Blackwell, is here and will underpin the company's AI plans this year. The chip offers performance improvements from Read more…

The NASA Black Hole Plunge

May 7, 2024

We have all thought about it. No one has done it, but now, thanks to HPC, we see what it looks like. Hold on to your feet because NASA has released videos of wh Read more…

Q&A with Nvidia’s Chief of DGX Systems on the DGX-GB200 Rack-scale System

March 27, 2024

Pictures of Nvidia's new flagship mega-server, the DGX GB200, on the GTC show floor got favorable reactions on social media for the sheer amount of computing po Read more…

MLPerf Inference 4.0 Results Showcase GenAI; Nvidia Still Dominates

March 28, 2024

There were no startling surprises in the latest MLPerf Inference benchmark (4.0) results released yesterday. Two new workloads — Llama 2 and Stable Diffusion Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow