1024programmer Java Urs Hälzle, the hero behind the Google empire

Urs Hälzle, the hero behind the Google empire

In 1988, Urs Hälzle received a PhD in computer science from his hometown of ETH Zurich and received a Fulbright Science Scholarship. In 1994, he received his PhD from Stanford University. At that time, his research focused on programming languages ​​and their efficient implementation. Together with David Griswold (now a communications researcher at Google) and Lars Bak (the developer of Google Chrome V8), he developed a high-performance Java virtual machine called HotSpot based on this research, which was used by Sun’s business unit JavaSoft (later renamed Acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1997 as Sun’s original Java virtual machine. Prior to joining Google, he served as an associate professor in the computer science department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He designed and led Google to build an extremely efficient data center that is said to consume less than half the energy of a traditional data center.

From a storage perspective, Hölzle’s planning content mainly refers to Google File System (GFS), which includes thousands of ordinary servers based on Linux systems. These servers are clustered together to handle large shared files, often several gigabytes in size. A record on the Google Search Labs website shows that the company’s largest cluster provides hundreds of terabytes of storage capacity across thousands of disks on more than 1,000 machines.

The model currently used by Google is to combine non-customized and customized software and use these software on ordinary computers. This architecture simplifies the storage and processing of large amounts of data, and also allows Google to easily provide large-scale products and services to the world. At the same time, it also realizes the automation of management of large-scale computer clusters.

In 2007, he led Google and Intel to jointly implement the “Climate Savers Computing Initiative” (Climate Savers Computing Initiative), an environmentally friendly and energy-saving plan that aims to enable personal computers and servers to save more energy and reduce harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. emissions. They strive to establish lower computer energy consumption standards and more efficient energy management software. The plan requires computers to achieve an effective energy utilization rate of 90% and reduce the power consumed by heat during the computing process, especially in large server centers. Electricity for air conditioning. Signatories to the new program also include Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and more than 25 environmental groups, companies interested in energy conservation and universities.

In 2011, Hölzle announced a change in alternative energy investment strategy for Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org: they decided to abandon the development of solar power technology because its cost could not match the falling prices of solar photovoltaic technology. He said that Google has determined to create a device of up to 50 megawatts that can be used by 50,000 American households by 2012, and that the device has renewable power generation capacity.

Currently, under Hölzle’s leadership, Google has used OpenFlow technology to renovate a large part of the internal network of Google’s major data centers to help the company improve efficiency. According to Hölzle, the idea behind this overhaul is the most significant change in Google’s history on the web. The OpenFlow system can observe the status of the entire network, measure the time required for data transmission, and automatically provide the best route for data transmission. Moreover, OpenFlow will automatically assign priorities for data transmission. In this way, for network managers, their management costs can be significantly reduced.

In his spare time, he and Luiz Barroso (a famous Google engineer) wrote two books, The Datacenter as a Computer and The Case for Energy Proportional Computing, to share Google’s successful experience with the industry. They introduced the design scheme of the data center in The Datacenter as a Computer. This book was put online by the publisher for everyone to download and read for free. In The Case for Energy Proportional Computing, they put forward the idea that “servers should be designed so that their operating current and load current are proportional, because they are not always at full load when running.”

Although he is engaged in Google’s core technical work at work, he has always kept a very low profile. Except for the launch of the drink Google Gulp on April Fool’s Day in 2005, there are not many anecdotes to be found. But as the world knows, Google’s ability to build its current empire is inseparable from Urs Hälzle’s contribution.

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