Green way to clean computers

Scientists have come up with “green” solutions to remove digital waste from computers.

For instance, old or rarely used files deplete precious storage space, bog down a computer’s efficiency and sap its energy.

Trash management methods could point the way to a new era of computer cleansing, the arXiv (pronounced as ‘archive’) website reports.

Johns Hopkins University scientists Ragib Hasan and Randal Burns are applying real world trash management methods to clean computers.

Hasan and Burns have devised a five-tier pyramid of options – reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose – according to a Hopkins statement.

“If you have too much waste data in your computer, your applications may slow down because they don’t have the space they require,” Hasan said.

How then can such clutter be curbed?

Reduce: The most preferred option is to cut back on the amount of waste data that flows into a computer. This can be done by encouraging software makers to design their programs to leave fewer unneeded files behind.

Reuse: If two programmes are found to utilize identical modules, one might be eliminated in a process called “data deduplication.”

Recycle: Just as discarded plastic can be refashioned into new soda bottles, some files could be re-purposed. When old software is about to be removed, the computer could retain useful pieces of the program.

Recover: Even when waste data can’t be reused or recycled, these leftovers might yield information worth studying after private identification details are removed.

Dispose: This is the least desirable option and the messiest, when you consider the energy used to completely eliminate old files or the real-world pollution created when one destroys an old hard drive or other form of storage media.

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Dr. Ragib Hasan

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