Innovation That Matters

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Tackling the carbon footprint of computer graphics

Computing & Tech

The algorithm reroutes tasks to underused data centres or those powered by renewable energy

Spotted: Rendering is a computer graphics process in which 2D and 3D images are created from a model. Used in architectural designs, video game development, and in TV and movie special effects, it requires a lot of processing power and energy input, especially when dealing with complex scenes. Given that power grids in most parts of the world remain dependent on fossil fuels, computer graphics have a significant and often overlooked carbon footprint. 

Now, startup Helio is hoping to make rendering more sustainable using the cloud. Companies that frequently perform rendering processes often use on-site rendering infrastructure that is powered 24 hours a day, even when not running at full capacity. Helio, by contrast, has created a cloud compute delivery network that uses algorithms to divert energy-intensive processes like rendering to idle or under-utilised data centres or those that are powered by renewable energy. In doing so, it reduces the carbon intensity of those processes.  

By using servers when they would otherwise be sitting idle, Helio can improve power usage effectiveness, help companies operate up to 10 times more efficiently, and dramatically speed up the rendering process. The startup’s network can also be used for other power-hungry applications such as research and artificial intelligence.   

At the end of last year, Helio raised €4.9 million in a seed funding round. The investment will be used to grow the team, improve the platform, increase the network of green data centres, and develop 3D rendering capabilities for the special effects market.

Springwise is spotting more and more innovators making data usage and storage more eco-friendly, including by eliminating data duplication and using computer calculations to heat homes.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead




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