VentureBeat today reported on a startup that aims to create the world’s first distributed data center by utilizing a small Canadian town’s unused computing power. LeoNovus is the company behind this technology, and its team members have an impressive track record of creating disruptive technologies. Their latest opus might just prove to be their greatest as well.
Their idea is to exploit “Dark Cores” of the Internet. These are computing brains, or cores, that sit idle most of the time when we’re not using our multi-core PCs, set-top boxes, and any other connected computing devices. The fundamental reason those resources are left idle is that computers haven’t been designed to tap each other when they need more power. Problems such as latency and programming complexity get in the way. But the LeoNovus team says it has figured out how to get all those computers working in tandem. Now the Canadian town of Stratford has volunteered to be the beta community as part of their push for becoming a high-tech haven and “smart city.”
By marshaling the unused compute cycles, the town benefits from having its own distributed data center that it doesn’t have to pay to maintain. LeoNovus or the town could give out free computers to its residents and give them free broadband as well, since the residents agree to let LeoNovus use the idle computer time for its own purposes. Consumers can use the PCs or set-tops to get on the web. Everybody benefits from this cloud-based revenue stream (the city will benefit by getting a royalty payment of some kind from LeoNovus). There could even be enough computer power available in Stratford to make its distributed data center into a top 500 supercomputer.
The possibilities this tech could open up are mind-boggling. Even the smallest use case – a company using or renting out its dormant desktop machines during off-business hours is at least an additional revenue stream, if not an enormous and increasingly necessary new tool for processing and data. Indeed, the mind wanders with the possibilities opened up by every company having a supercomputer at their beck and call every evening between 9pm and 4am.