"With Aquasar, we make an important contribution to the development of sustainable high performance computers and computer system," he says in a press release from IBM. "In the future it will be important to measure how efficiently a computer is per watt and per gram of equivalent CO2 production."
In IBM's water-cooling system, the processors and several other parts in the computer are cooled with water that is no warmer than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That's still pretty hot, but it's enough to keep the computers from overheating. As long as the processors remain well below 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the system will operate normally.
This water runs throughout the computer system in what IBM calls "micro-channel liquid coolers," but they are essentially tiny tubes full of water. Every processor in the computer has these tubes directly attached to them, so no processor in the system overheats.
IBM says Aquasar is almost 50 percent more efficient than the world's most powerful supercomputers.
Bruno Michel of IBM's Zurich Labs tells the BBC a supercomputer's energy/">energy efficiency is a lot more important than it used to be. "In the future, computers will be dominated by energy costs; to run a data center will cost more than to build it."