Heavy computing is vital to our world. We rely on computers and large computing farms to process our data, serve our webpages, videos and music, predict the weather, and many more every-day tasks we take for granted. These computers can generate an enormous amount of heat. In addition, even your everyday computer can generate a large amount of heat performing tasks like heavy calculations, video processing, and file management. In this activity we will estimate the heat generated by a large server farm by measuring the heat generated by our computer.


In this lab students will accomplish the following:

  • Understand the relationship between calculation load in computers and the heat generated.
  • Understand how to examine quantitative data and make a qualitative assessment of it.
  • Visually interpret quantitative data.
  • Demonstrate the ability to scale data and extrapolate models from laboratory data.
  • Familiarize themselves with infrared thermometers.