Green invention wins IP-to-market competition

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 15, 2008 – Software that will save data centers millions of dollars in energy costs has won the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) first annual Intellectual Property to Market (IP2M) competition. The patent-pending invention, dubbed EcoDaemon by the researchers at Virginia Tech who created it, ranked number one among submissions from more than 60 research institutes in the southeast.

According to the winning team, energy costs can reach $30 million a year for a typical 40-megawatt data center. IDC expects the energy bills for these centers along will grow to $60 billion globally by 2009. "Thus this technology is timely in its ability to reduce the total cost of ownership of computing systems -- ultimately delivering better return on investment," the Southeastern Universities Research Association announcement states.

EcoDaemon, co-invented by Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. student, Song Huang, can automatically save substantial energy while programs run on computers. Beyond the energy savings, the solution improves the reliability and useful life of a computer in the data center by reducing the core temperature, thus providing an opportunity to significantly lower the cost and environmental impact of data centers and many other computing devices,

“EcoDaemon, operates by judiciously and automatically telling the processor when to change its frequency and voltage and what to change it to in order to simultaneously maximize energy savings and performance,” said Bob Summers, a serial entrepreneur who is interested in commercializing EcoDaemon as part of a new company called EnergyWare.

EcoDaemon is an intelligent software package that runs as an application service and maximizes performance while saving energy. “For example, a computer system which normally consumes more than 300 watts of power can be reduced to 240 watts on average while marginally impacting computing speed. Reduction in energy consumption further reduces cooling needs,” said Summers.

With the guidance of VT KnowledgeWorks business acceleration center in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, EnergyWare is finalizing a license agreement with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties (VTIP) Inc. for the EcoDaemon technology.

“Energy consumption in data centers is doubling every five years and already consumes 3 percent of domestic electric power,” said Summers, who received a computer engineering degree from Virginia Tech and a master of business administration from MIT Sloan. “EnergyWare ( is going to bring this valuable IP to market to help solve this critical global energy problem,” he said.

For additional information, contact John Geikler, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties senior licensing associate, at (540) 443-9228.