Dr Ed Walsh’s research interests are in understanding the fundamentals of heat transfer, fluid mechanics and energy. His research interests are applied to turbo machinery, thermal management and biotechnology. Spanning a broad range of topics, he has applied his work to fundamental studies of boundary layers and microfluidics, energy reduction, development of technologies for applications in next generation of electronic and biotechnology systems.
A particular challenge Ed has applied his expertise to is that of energy reduction in data centres. These facilities consist of cabinets, that house servers, where computations required for many industries are undertaken, e.g. the internet, banks, online transactions, research studies and so on. Each one of these cabinets, which are the size of a domestic fridge, dissipates up to 50kW of power, which is almost as much as a typical car engine. Achieving energy efficiency for these large scale infrastructures, presents a particular challenge due to the large number of length scales over which heat is generated and dissipated and the interaction between all the different components in the thermal chain from source (computing components) to the external ambient environment. This research provided a methodology that allows the identification of optimum infrastructure operating conditions and was recently implemented by Hewlett Packard.