Editor: In his Autumn Statement, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans for £500m in funding for artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, including important safety and security measures. 

shutterstock_1062915266_cred Gorodenkoff

Source: shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

The expansion of “access to compute” over the next two years will present huge opportunities for a range of sectors, further driving the need for information processing infrastructure and facilities.

This demand is likely to further bolster the UK data centre market, which, according to Statista, is predicted to record a 6.62% increase in revenue growth to reach $19.36bn (£15bn) by 2028.

With the sector booming, the challenge lies in meeting environmental targets while simultaneously scaling up computing power.

The solution could come from an unexpected source. AI could play an important role in ensuring the UK data centre market remains economically and environmentally sustainable for years to come.

Innovative research projects from data centre providers across the globe show how AI can help to optimise operations, design and construction.

Examples include Huawei’s iManager, which is reportedly using AI to manage data centre power allocation, and is shown to improve resource utilisation in its facilities by a rate of 20%.

Cooling systems, which can account for up to 40% of the energy used in data centres, are also being optimised through the use of AI. A project by Equinix is reported to be aiming to reduce energy consumption by 48% through optimisation of the energy supply required to cool the data centre infrastructure.

When it comes to construction, ‘digital twins’ are being created by companies such as Cadence to integrate AI with software analytics and machine learning. This allows for real-time tracking and performance evaluation, as well as insights into costs and capacity before construction starts, ensuring new data centres meet sustainability standards.

The UK’s dream of becoming an AI powerhouse does not need to cost the planet. In fact, by using more AI, we can unlock new sustainability solutions.

Michael Riordan, managing director, Linesight, UK