Christian Rolf – November 2012
– I just had an interesting chain of thought: processing the SKA data is impossible without lots of GPU power. Cloud computing doesn’t have much of that; desktops typically have more GPU power than web servers. Building a cluster with lots of GPU power is incredibly expensive, especially in warm countries, where passive cooling is impossible (which is why Scandinavia is getting popular).
However, there are two place where you can find lots of unused GPU power combined in a digitally signed, trusted network for delivery of software and data: Xbox Live and the PlayStation network.
If you can get Microsoft and Sony to support a kind of SETI@Home for SKA, you’ve got up to 150 million(!) GPUs at your disposal, most of which will be idle for majority of the day.
The incentive to the users would be a cheat-proof online ranking which gives you credits with which you can buy games.
The incentive to Microsoft and Sony would be money, and possibly logos on the resulting images from the data.
… these are closed networks, owned by Microsoft and Sony…doubt that astronomers and scientists would want to have their data processed through there -and not having full control of it.
However we (Open Parallel) can do that processing on their behalf: they keep their data in their server farms (some of them could be located in the South Island of New Zealand where electricity is abundant and renewable) and we do the management of that processing…There are some analogies with the model of our partners at GreenButton