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Power-starved Punjab goes for "green computing"

CHANDIGARH: Punjab, faced with a grim power shortage, is now ushering in a silent technological change - green computing - which can help save energy by use of virtual computer systems that are connected to one master computer.
The Punjab government has engaged a private company, Ncomputing, to carry out the green computing campaign. Under this technology, power consumed by one traditional computer can be shared to run as many as 10 other systems in such a way that each user will utilise just one watt of energy per unit.
Conceptualised by Ncomputing Inc, a US-based desktop virtualisation company, the green computing system makes use of X-550 software to share the total energy among different user systems.
Completing the first phase of Information Communication Technology ( ICT) Education project in Punjab this week, Ncomputing has set up a five-seat computing laboratory in each of the 480 government schools selected across Punjab.
Each lab comprises four X-550 virtual desktops, one desktop computer, which operates through the X-550 software, one printer and a UPS.
The software demands 75 percent less maintenance and 90 percent less energy consumption.
"Today's PCs (personal computers) are so powerful that the vast majority of students only use a small fraction of the computer's capacity," Ncomputing chairman and CEO Stephen Dukker told IANS.
"Ncomputing desktop virtualisation solution taps this unused capacity so that it can be simultaneously used by many students," he added.
"Our products and technologies are easy to deploy, rugged and only use one watt of electricity. The low energy usage is critical because electricity in India can be expensive and often unreliable," Dukker said.
"Each student connects his or her monitor, keyboard and mouse to an Ncomputing device which is then connected to the shared PC," he added.
The computers are supported by the EduBOSS linux operating system in all these labs. It is the customised version of BOSS linux for school education.
EduBOSS has been designed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) which is an initiative by the union ministry of communications and information technology (MC&IT). The operating system is preloaded with educational applications.
"Widespread and affordable access to computer skills is needed in the Indian education system. Combined with Ncomputing, this is an ideal solution to provide affordable computing access," CDAC-Mohali executive director Jagjit S. Bhatia told IANS here.
Software professionals say the 'green computing' concept is progressive and practical.
"This technology is feasible. This will not only help in saving energy but will cut down other computer-related costs like buying the Windows operating system for each CPU," said Atul Jain, software developer with a leading IT solutions company.



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