Data centers are “the backbone” of the internet, massive collections of servers that store and process data. Chicago ranks third in the United States for data center capacity, according to a new report, but is in danger of being passed by other major markets.

On January 28th, UChicago CS assistant professor Sanjay Krishnan visited WTTW's Chicago Tonight to talk about the findings of the report and Chicago's role in the booming data center sector.

In the segment, Krishnan gives a broad introduction to data centers and their importance for the many apps and devices that people now use in their daily lives. He also talks about why geography is important for the location of data centers, and what factors make Chicago a good location for additional facilities in the “data center race.”

“These data centers, as these massive facilities, need to be very reliable. They can't be in places prone to natural disasters, they can't be in places prone to bad weather. They also need amazing amounts of electricity and cooling and support infrastructure,” Krishnan said. “Chicago is ideally situated in the middle of the country, where many of the key global wires go through this spot, and that makes it ideal for large-scale internet data centers.”

You can watch the full segment below, or read about it at the WTTW website.

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