Ethiopian scientist works on a research to make Facebook faster

Elias Kifle | September 17th, 2012

TEXAS (CBSDFW) – Facebook awards a grant to University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to make the social media site faster.

“We are very excited to be part of Facebook,” says Dr. Dereje Agonafer from University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).

Agonafer says data centers account for roughly 2 percent of all U.S. energy use. That’s enough to power a couple of cities the size of Austin for most of a year.

“You are able to put more servers (online), which means you can get better information, or more information — more data,” says Dr. Agonafer.

What that translates into is a faster Facebook, and the savings for Facebook and other companies involved could be in the millions, Agonafer said.

“(On) Facebook there is a lot of downloading of pictures and uploading of pictures; this takes time,” says Agonafer. “It’s going to be maybe a thousand times faster.”

For the group of students at UTA who are part of the project, it’s a chance to influence the social phenomenon of their time. Their goal is to figure out a way to quickly cool massive data centers for Facebook and 14 other large-scale corporations.

On the social networking landmark, more than 800 million users interact with 900 million other pages, groups and events, uploading an average of more than 250 million photos each day. Those steep usage numbers have spurred the students to help match the site’s soaring demand.

Facebook is pledging $50,000 to the research. That pledge is renewable for up to five years.

The social networking company is one of 15 that UTA will be doing research for. Other data heavyweights include Microsoft, General Electric and Bloomberg.