At SC11, the speaker before me was from Dreamworks, and he presented some very interesting facts about how much computing time is required to render their films.
One of the fascinating figures was that the total time spent rendering Puss n Boots was 70 million hours.
We can back of the envelope the amount of energy that was consumed to do this. Imagine an average processor consumes about 100 watts. Then in one hour, one processor consumes about 360 kiloJoules [kJ], and in 70 million hours, the total amount of energy consumed is around 25 TeraJoules [TJ].
So what does 25 TJ mean? Here are some ways to think about it:
1. The world’s biggest power plant is the Three Gorges plant in China. It generates 18,460 MW of power. Puss n Boots rendering = about 23 minutes consuming the full output of this power plant.
2. Assuming that the human brain consumes about 30 watts, and there are about 7 billion humans, the energy required to render Puss n Boots is about the same as about 20 minutes of all energy consumed by every human brain on the planet. [interestingly this is similar to the output of the three gorges dam…]
3. The total power draw of Burnaby (where D-Wave is) is about 120 GigaJoules per capita per year. With a population of about 200,000, the energy used to render Puss n Boots would power all of Burnaby for about 9 days.
4. A 1 kilogram brick, carried up to the 275m platform of the Eiffel Tower, acquires about 2.7 MJ of potential energy relative to the ground. Therefore if all the energy used to render Puss n Boots were converted to potential energy, it would be the same as about 9 million kilograms sitting at the top platform of the Eiffel Tower. This is about the same as the total mass of every person in Burnaby.
5. According to Google maps, it would take me about 90 days of walking 12 hours a day to walk across Canada. Assuming I burn about 5,000 calories a day, with 1 calorie = 4.184 kJ, the amount of energy required to walk across Canada is about 2 GJ. This means that I could walk across Canada 13,000 times — or equivalently walk 12 hours a day for 3,200 years — with the same energy budget as rendering Puss n Boots.
6. A banana contains about 100 calories ~ 420 kJ. If the total energy used to render Puss n Boots were converted into banana food energy, you’d need 60 million bananas. A banana weighs about 150 grams, so that’s about 9 million kilograms of bananas. If you could eat 500 bananas per day, it would take you 327 years to munch your way through that stack.