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    Alternative to Google's hiring Renewable Energy Systems Modeling Engineer

    I am spending more time researching the Low Carbon Data Center ideas and I ran across Google's job posting on Renewable Energy System Modeling Engineer.

    The role: Renewable Energy System Modeling Engineer - Mountain View

    RE<'C will require development of new utility-scale energy production systems. But design iteration times for large-scale physical systems are notoriously slow and expensive. You will use your expertise in computer simulation and modeling to accelerate the design iteration time for renewable energy systems. You will build software tools and models of optical, mechanical, electrical, and financial systems to allow the team to rapidly answer questions and explore the design-space of utility-scale energy systems. You will draw from your broad systems knowledge and your deep expertise in software-based simulation. You will choose the right modeling environment for each problem-from simple spreadsheets to time-based simulators to custom software models you create in high-level languages. The models you create will be important software projects unto themselves. You will follow Google's world-class software development methodologies as you create, test, and maintain these models. You will build rigorous testing frameworks to verify that your models produce correct results. You will collaborate with other engineers to frame the modeling problem and interpret the results.

    It's great Google see the need for this person, but I was curious if anyone else has done Renewable Energy System Modeling.  Guess what there is, since 1993 in fact.  NREL has this page on Homer.

    New Distribution Process for NREL's HOMER Model

    Note! HOMER is now distributed and supported by HOMER Energy (

    To meet the renewable energy industry’s system analysis and optimization needs , NREL started developing HOMER in 1993. Since then it has been downloaded free of charge by more than 30,000 individuals, corporations, NGOs, government agencies, and universities worldwide.

    HOMER is a computer model that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications. HOMER's optimization and sensitivity analysis algorithms allow the user to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of a large number of technology options and to account for uncertainty in technology costs, energy resource availability, and other variables. HOMER models both conventional and renewable energy technologies:


    I signed up for the Homer Energy site which has 510 users, non apparently Google engineers.


    I hope to make contact with the Homer Energy team as we are trying to have a session at DataCenterDynamics Seattle on a Low Carbon Data Center.

    Maybe Google doesn't have to hire the Renewable Engineering System Modeling engineer after all.  :-)

    Click to read more ...


    Google Goes Nuclear to increase its defense capabilities, April Fools

    Today is Mar 31, but April 1, April Fool's is right around the corner.

    Techcrunch has a post on Google's new nuclear acquisition.

    Exclusive: Google To Go Nuclear

    by Michael Arrington on Mar 31, 2010

    Google has acquired a company that has created a new process for highly efficient isotope separation, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. The primary use of this technology, say experts we’ve spoken with, is uranium enrichment.

    Enriched uranium is a necessary ingredient in the creation of nuclear energy, and one source we’ve spoken with at Google says that this is part of the Google Green Initiative. The company will use the new technology to enable it to design and possibly build small, mobile and highly efficient nuclear power generators. “Google has already begun building an enrichment plant,” says a high ranking IAEA source.

    The story continues implying that Google is developing capability for nuclear weapons.

    And more chillingly: “It would be trivial for anyone with this technology to build a nuclear weapon.”

    Google, which has been shaken by its inability to counter Chinese censorship and hacking efforts, may be engaging in enrichment research as part of a new effort to simply protect itself from outside threats.

    Click to read more ...


    Long Now, Long View, Long Lived Data Center, a 10,000 year clock - a 10,000 year data center?

    I am currently thinking of rules for the ontology in data center designs.  Translated, I am trying to figure out the principles, components, and relationships for the Open Source Data Center Initiative. 

    This is a complex topic to try and explain, but I found an interesting project the Long Now started by a bunch of really smart people, Jeff Bezos, Esther Dyson, Mitch Kapor, Peter Schwartz, and Steward Brand.  Here is a video discussing the idea of a 10,000 year clock.


    But, what I found interesting was their long term approach and transparency that we will be using in the Open Source Data Center Initiative.  And, now thinking a Long View is part of what we have as principles.

    Here are the principles of the Long Now Clock that make a lot of sense to use data center design.

    These are the principles that Danny Hillis used in the initial stages of designing a 10,000 Year Clock. We have found these are generally good principles for designing anything to last a long time.


    With occasional maintenance, the clock should reasonably be expected to display the correct time for the next 10,000 years.


    The clock should be maintainable with bronze-age technology.

    It should be possible to determine operational principles of the clock by close inspection.
    It should be possible to improve the clock with time.
    It should be possible to build working models of the clock from table-top to monumental size using the same design.

    Some rules that follow from the design principles:

    Go slow
    Avoid sliding friction (gears)
    Avoid ticking
    Stay clean
    Stay dry
    Expect bad weather
    Expect earthquakes
    Expect non-malicious human interaction
    Dont tempt thieves
    Maintainability and transparency:
    Use familiar materials
    Allow inspection
    Rehearse motions
    Make it easy to build spare parts
    Expect restarts
    Include the manual
    Scalability and Evolvabilty:
    Make all parts similar size
    Separate functions
    Provide simple interfaces

    Why think about a 10,000 year clock, because thinking about slowness teaches us things we don't have time when think only of speed.

    Hurry Up and Wait

    The Slow Issue > Jennifer Leonard on January 5, 2010 at 6:30 am PST


    We asked some of the world’s most prominent futurists to explain why slowness might be as important to the future as speed.

    Julian Bleecker
    Julian Bleecker, a designer, technologist, and co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory, devises “design-to-think experiments” that focus on interactions away from conventional computer settings. “When sitting at a screen and keyboard, everything is tuned to be as fast as possible,” he says. “It’s about diminishing time to nothing.”
    So he asks, “Can we make design where time is inescapable and not be brought to zero? Would it be interesting if time were stretched, or had weight?” To test this idea, Bleeker built a Slow Messaging Device, which automatically delayed electronic (as in, e-mail) messages. Especially meaningful messages took an especially long time to arrive.

    Read more:

    The biggest unknown problems in data centers are those things that we didn't think were going to happen in the future.  And, this leaves the door open to over-engineering, increasing cost, brittleness of systems, and delays.  Taking a Long View what will the future possibly look like can help you see things you normally wouldn't.


    Click to read more ...


    50% of IT budgets treat electricity as free resource, Avanade survey discovers

    Avanade has a news release on a survey revealing the disconnect between IT and electricity use.

    Executives and IT decision-makers cite energy as a top cost in IT operations; Survey reveals disconnect in budgeting
    SEATTLE – March 31, 2010 – According to a recent survey commissioned by Avanade, a business technology services provider, there is a clear gap in energy policies within IT departments. Companies recognize energy as a top cost, but ultimately, more than half of respondents fail to account for energy costs when developing IT budgets.


    Also, Avanade has a press release on customers interest in Microsoft Cloud Computing.

    In 2009 Avanade engaged Kelton Research to conduct two global surveys on cloud computing – one in February 2009 and the other in September 2009. Between the first survey and the second, there was a 320 percent increase in executives and IT decision-makers reporting they are testing or planning to implement cloud computing technologies.

    Makes me wonder how many enterprises are forgetting to account for the electricity bill as a cost savings for cloud computing.

    Click to read more ...


    Google's Data Center System Engineering approach

    There was recent news on system engineers being the best job in America.

    1. Systems Engineer

    Systems Engineer

    Anne O'Neil, a chief systems engineer at the N.Y.C. Transit Authority, is one of five female senior managers in a department of 1,500.

    Top 50 rank: 1
    Sector: Information Technology

    What they do: They're the "big think" managers on large, complex projects, from major transportation networks to military defense programs. They figure out the technical specifications required and coordinate the efforts of lower-level engineers working on specific aspects of the project.

    Why it's great: Demand is soaring for systems engineers, as what was once a niche job in the aerospace and defense industries becomes commonplace among a diverse and expanding universe of employers, from medical device makers to corporations like Xerox and BMW.

    CNet News wrote as well.

    Systems engineer deemed best job in America

    by Chris Matyszczyk

    If you're a systems engineer who wonders whether you've chosen the right profession, I bring you good news.

    But, what got me write a blog entry was Google's job post for Data Center system engineer.

    The role: Data Center Control Systems Engineer

    Data Center Control Systems Engineers possess demonstrated design, operation, and construction experience in the areas of complex and mission critical facilities. You will have extensive knowledge of large-scale facilities controls and monitoring systems for all infrastructural systems.

    As the Data Center Control Systems Engineer, you have excellent communication skills and are able to work in teams and matrix organizations. You are expected to develop and maintain strong functional relationships across multidisciplinary teams to anticipate future controls and monitoring design requirements. You will be continuously involved in the improvement of plant performance based on historical data collected and collaborate on retrofit projects to improve plant efficiency based on business case justifications.

    and on top of that there is a Data Center Strategic Negotiator job which fits as a business/technical person to work with the system engineer.

    The role: Data Center Strategic Negotiator

    As a Data Center Strategic Negotiator,you will lead a team to collect and analyze large sets of location data, execute extensive on-the-ground due diligence, and to ultimately lead negotiations in to develop comprehensive legal contracts for data centers, real estate, power, and networking services around the world, for both new and existing assets, of all sizes. You must have substantial knowledge of global markets, in-depth technical expertise, and strategic analytical skills, in addition to rock-solid negotiation and collaboration capabilities. All location strategy and site selection initiatives are team efforts spearheaded by the Global Infrastructure Group (“GIG”). You will need to be a flexible, proactive team player who understands and seeks to support the larger strategic initiatives of the company. You are a proven professional with a track record that matches our philosophy of leading by innovation, who has a detailed understanding of both the technological and the commercial sides of data centers, and who has the ability to deliver against aggressive deadlines with a driving passion for cost reduction and highly effective solutions.

    The Data Center Strategic Negotiator will carry out the selection and negotiations process for new data centers from start to finish. You will have experience designing and executing large-scale international site selection initiatives; deep and broad transactional knowledge; strong technical negotiation skills in the areas of data centers; real estate leases, purchase agreements, and entitlements; energy and other utilities; telecommunications; and economic development incentives. Technical knowledge and experience negotiating collocation space, racks, power circuits, cross connects and remote hands in conventional data centers is preferred. You will be adept at strategizing, structuring, negotiating, and closing a range of mission critical transactions in diverse settings and with diverse parties.

    I spent more time going through the Google job postings for Mtn View.  Google is building teams I was used to working with at Apple developing hardware.  But, Apple didn't have the system engineers above as data centers back when I worked there were just for enterprise applications.

    It will be hard to discover what Google's data center system engineer and strategic negotiator do, but keep in mind, they are developing systems for the way Google operates as a business.  Copying their actions could cause more problems than they solve unless you think of the whole system.

    It is great to see that Google has reached a stage in maturity to identify system engineering and holistic system negotiation as keys to their continue growth and cost reduction.  On the other hand the job for these people would have been much easier if they were hired 10 years ago as they now need to work with the momentum of dozens of groups who are entrenched.

    The biggest challenge to doing the jobs above is whether you have the organizational skills to instill change in groups.

    My next read is Switch.

    Buy Switch.
    Come see us on the book tour.
    • Read the first chapter.

    Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

    The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

    Click to read more ...