ChatGPT Servers Hydrate with 1 Liter of Water for Every 10 Questions Asked
September 12, 2023

ChatGPT Servers Hydrate with 1 Liter of Water for Every 10 Questions Asked

A specially designed data center that Microsoft opened especially for OpenAI and is intended for artificial intelligence training began operating in 2020 in the American state of Iowa. What most attracts attention about this huge database that “feeds” ChatGPT with the necessary data is undoubtedly the hardware from which the powerful servers are configured. It consists of more than 285,000 AMD InfiniBand CPUs and more than 10,000 GPUs used to run the system.

Playing with ChatGPT chatbot and 10 of your questions will consume almost 1 liter of water

Such a huge computing power, quite naturally consumes a lot of electricity and at the same time releases a huge amount of heat. In order to keep the working environment cool and the hardware healthy, the water needed to cool the servers is pumped into the data centers.

Des Moines, where this large data center is located, is located at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raycorn rivers, which provide the necessary water for cooling the hardware. The amount of water used to remove heat from the server can only be said to be staggeringly large.

The Associated Press cites data obtained by Shaolei Ren, a researcher from the University of California, who is looking into the environmental impact of AIGC products and technology that powers artificial intelligence. Later this year, he will publish a paper in which he will highlight the fact that for every 5-50 questions asked on ChatGPT, about 500 ml of water is consumed.

This number also includes indirect water use such as cooling water used by power plants to power the data center. The exact consumption will depend on the number of questions asked, the location of the server and the time of year.

As mentioned above, Microsoft has acknowledged that water use is a major cost associated with running and training AI models. From 2021 to 2022, its global water consumption increased by 34%, a large increase compared to the previous AIGC study.

At the same time, researchers also say that the situation may not be as bad as it seems at first glance. The data center is located in Iowa, where daytime temperatures are relatively low for most of the year. Only when the temperature reaches 29.3 degrees Celsius or higher, water will start to be drawn from the plumbing system to cool the server.