Transforming Cooling Optimization for Green Data Center via Deep Reinforcement Learning

Cooling system plays a critical role in a modern data center (DC). Developing an optimal control policy for DC cooling system is a challenging task. The prevailing approaches often rely on approximating system models that are built upon the knowledge of mechanical cooling, electrical and thermal management, which is difficult to design and may lead to sub-optimal or unstable performances. In this paper, we propose utilizing the large amount of monitoring data in DC to optimize the control policy. To do so, we cast the cooling control policy design into an energy cost minimization problem with temperature constraints, and tap it into the emerging deep reinforcement learning (DRL) framework. Specifically, we propose an end-to-end cooling control algorithm (CCA) that is based on the actor-critic framework and an off-policy offline version of the deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) algorithm. In the proposed CCA, an evaluation network is trained to predict an energy cost counter penalized by the cooling status of the DC room, and a policy network is trained to predict optimized control settings when gave the current load and weather information. The proposed algorithm is evaluated on the EnergyPlus simulation platform and on a real data trace collected from the National Super Computing Centre (NSCC) of Singapore. Our results show that the proposed CCA can achieve about 11% cooling cost saving on the simulation platform compared with a manually configured baseline control algorithm. In the trace-based study, we propose a de-underestimation validation mechanism as we cannot directly test the algorithm on a real DC. Even though with DUE the results are conservative, we can still achieve about 15% cooling energy saving on the NSCC data trace if we set the inlet temperature threshold at 26.6 degree Celsius.

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