The integration of a simulation-based Artificial Neural Network (ANN) with a Genetic Algorithm (GA) has been explored as a real-time design tool for data center thermal management. The computation time for the ANN-GA approach is significantly smaller compared to a fully CFD-based optimization methodology for predicting data center operating conditions. However, difficulties remain when applying the ANN model for predicting operating conditions for configurations outside of the geometry used for the training set. One potential remedy is to partition the room layout into a finite number of characteristic zones, for which the ANN-GA model readily applies. Here, a multiple hot aisle/cold aisle data center configuration was analyzed using the commercial software FloTHERM. The CFD results are used to characterize the flow rates at the inter-zonal partitions. Based on specific reduced subsets of desired treatment quantities from the CFD results, such as CRAC and server rack air flow rates, the approach was applied for two different CRAC configurations and various levels of CRAC and server rack flow rates. Utilizing the compact inter-zonal boundary conditions, good agreement for the airflow and temperature distributions is achieved between predictions from the CFD computations for the entire room configuration and the reduced order zone-level model for different operating conditions and room layouts.

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