MSE Seminar: Dr. Dereje Agonafer, UT Arlington

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
3:30 p.m.
Room 2110 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Sherri Tatum

Cooling Solutions for Hyperscale Servers and CHIPS Act - Opportunities and Challenges for Heterogeneous Integrated Systems 

Abstract: Challenges, and opportunities in cooling technologies for data centers ranging from evaporative heat exchangers, cold plate based liquid cooling, and immersion cooling will be discussed. I will end by talking about CHIPS Act and thermo/mechanical challenges and opportunities related to heterogeneous integrated systems.

Related to air cooling (relevant - noting that even by 2030, over 65% of data centers will be air cooled), the thermal community has made significant improvements with the adoption air-side economization and evaporative cooling amongst others and reducing the need for mechanical cooling. Liquid cooling has been utilized in the 80’s in IBM’s 3081 mainframe computer but limited use since.  My team has recently been actively working on the implementation and commissioning of cold plate technology in all its nuances in a major hyperscale company system. Single-phase immersion provides simplicity in terms of thermal infrastructure, PUEs as low as 1.03, and reduction in CAPEX equal to or greater than 50%. Material compatibility of the immersion fluids with IT components, however, remains a challenge. I will talk about numerous sponsored studies for both single- and two-phase immersion cooling in our new immersion lab. Additionally, I will briefly discuss a new ARPA-E project our team is spearheading.

In the CHIPS Act, $11B is allocated to advanced packaging which is a once in a millennium opportunity. There are huge opportunities for collaborative efforts amongst varied disciplines including material science, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. Challenges include: Chiplets thermal crosstalk, TIM challenges, CTE mismatch driven warpage, and utilization of glass substrate. I will conclude my talk with the need to train engineers with a focus in the semiconductor industry.  McKinsey has projected a shortfall of about 300,000 engineers and 90,000 skilled technicians in the United States by 2030. In the past few years, my team has been working very closely with industries such as META, NVIDIA, and Intel where employees of the industry (both PhD interns and former PhDs now in industry) work in my lab and enabling a robust dialogue and a higher level of Technology Readiness research. 

Bio: Dereje Agonafer is a Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. He heads two centers - “Site Director of NSF IUCRC in Energy Efficient Systems” and Director of “Electronics, MEMS and Nanoelectronics Systems Packaging Center”, and is now building a new center called RAHIS (Reliability Assessment in Heterogeneous Integrated Systems). After receiving his PhD at Howard University, he worked for 15 years at IBM and in 1991, at IBM, he was awarded the "IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in Appreciation for Computer Aided Thermal Modeling.” Since joining UTA in 1999, he has graduated 259 graduate students including 35 PhDs and is currently advising 15 PhDs and several MS students. He has won several awards including: 2008 Semi-Therm Thermi Award; 2009 InterPACK Excellence Award; 2014 ITHERM Achievement Award; 2014 NSBE Golden Torch Award honoree for Golden Torch Legacy; 1998 Distinguished Alum Award from the University of Colorado Boulder and Distinguished PhD Alum Award from Howard University. He is ASME Honorary Member, Fellow of AAAS and Life Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. In 2019, Professor Agonafer was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. According to UTAs post, “With Agonafer’s election to the NAE, UTA now has five national academy members, a critical benchmark to achieve Tier One status in Texas.” In March 2020, he was one of three recipients of the Howard University Alumni Award at the 153rd Charter Day: Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement: research engineer Dereje Agonafer; sports journalist Stanley R. Verrett; and Tanya M. Walton Pratt, the first African-American federal judge in Indiana’s history.

Audience: Graduate  Undergraduate  Faculty 

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