Corporate Responsibility

Klaus vom Hofe


"We make digital power guzzlers visible"

Efficient programming reduces the power consumption of software. The two IT experts Julian Kipka and Nicolas Wellmann, together with a small team, have created a tool for this purpose. It measures how much power a program consumes. A minimal version is already finished.

Two men. Picture montage with symbolic image.

With their tool, they promote "Green Coding": Nicolas Wellmann (left) and Julian Kipka. © Deutsche Telekom

Some apps on my cell phone consume more battery than others. Is that due to the software?

Julian: Perhaps the application simply has a lot of functions. But it could also be that its software is not programmed efficiently. Similar to a cell phone, you can imagine this in a large data center. Both the ability to call up a website at any time and the calling up of the website itself require electricity. We have long been fascinated by the idea that conscious programming - we call it "Green Coding" - can change this.

Inefficient software ... difficult for laypeople to imagine. Do you have an example of how this comes about?

Nicolas: There are many lines of code behind every piece of software. Those who write it also use special libraries - simply to avoid having to write everything from scratch. The libraries offer ready-made packages with the functions that the software should have. However, these packages often contain long branches of code for other functions that are not currently required. If the software is running, however, everything superfluous is also activated. This consumes unnecessary power.

Julian: One reason can also be the programming language. Depending on what is to be programmed, one language can be more efficient than the others.

How did the idea of creating a tool to remedy this come about?

Julian: Last year, "Green Coding" was hotly debated at a "Barcamp". This was an informal conference at Deutsche Telekom, organized by our "Human-centered Technology" movement. It was about technology that is unconditionally human-centered. This was followed by a competition for programmers, a so-called "hackathon", under the same motto. The winning team in the Green Coding category demonstrated on a small scale how such a tool works. It is exciting to see how the idea has now developed into a solution for the world of Deutsche Telekom.

You see a major lever for reducing energy consumption and thus CO2 emissions. Please describe your solution.

Julian Kipka and Nicolas Wellmann in the Interview.

"We're already working on the next ideas to expand our solution": Julian Kipka and Nicolas Wellmann in the interview. © Deutsche Telekom

Nicolas: We make digital power guzzlers visible. We had noticed that there is a lot of specialist literature on the subject, but hardly any practical help for developers. We found this in an open source solution and integrated it into Deutsche Telekom's development platform called "Magenta CI/CD". Anyone who saves or tests code with us, for example, usually does so on this platform. In future, it will be possible to see directly how many joules the code consumes in total. If you then make the necessary adjustments, you can see what has changed afterwards.

Julian: As simple as the measurement is, it is important to assess it correctly. As soon as new functions are added during further development, the energy consumption of a software may also increase. Our dashboard helps you to see how energy consumption has changed. This allows the team to exchange ideas on how to program more efficiently.

What happens now?

Nicolas: We want to make it as easy as possible for our colleagues. The prototype is already running. The first testers have already expressed their enthusiasm. Next, we will start our "friendly user test". After that, we want to gradually make the solution available to everyone. Overall, we realize that we have struck a nerve with this topic at Deutsche Telekom. We are already working on the next ideas to expand our solution.

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