Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • Icon for: Jim White

    Jim White

    June 8, 2015 | 11:15 a.m.

    This is an interesting topic—Iceland is taking on this challenge, in a way.

    Question: Aside from heating homes and offices, are there other uses that server farm heat could be put to?

  • Icon for: Geoffrey Bomarito

    Geoffrey Bomarito

    June 8, 2015 | 11:46 a.m.

    Cool idea!
    Servers, especially the kind that output significant heat, are high value property. How would you suggest that the liability and security of the machines be addressed when placed in someone’s home?

  • June 8, 2015 | 07:12 p.m.

    I definitely like the idea of harnessing the unused heat in server farms, and agree that this would be more appropriate in cooler climates. I could forsee some downsides to the distributed system such as it being more challenging (and requiring more driving) to maintain and fix the servers when they’re in various locations. Do you have any ideas for solutions to such challenges?

  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    June 8, 2015 | 10:17 p.m.

    This is an interesting idea.
    I’m trying to get a picture of how it would work. Do you know how many servers it would take to heat a typical house and how much space they would take up? Where do you recommend I locate my server/heaters?
    Do servers need to be maintained at a cool temperature to run well? If so, what are the challenges involved in transferring heat away from the server and to my living room?

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    June 8, 2015 | 06:43 p.m.

    This is a very interesting idea, and it seems like a win-win situation for both the homeowner and the server owner. Would there be any way to control the heat output, if the homeowner/business were to want a cooler or warmer temperature throughout the building?

  • Icon for: Abe Drayton

    Abe Drayton

    Innovate team member
    June 10, 2015 | 12:48 p.m.

    So this is a good idea, but it’s also one that seems to be in operation already in some places, with news articles about it. What makes your version innovative?

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

  1. James Wilburn
  3. PHS Servers
  1. Zoya Bharmal
  3. PHS Servers
  1. Henry Gao
  3. PHS Servers

Decentralized Servers

During the winter, heating consumes a lot of energy. This energy is not being used to do anything other than heat cold air. Servers produce a lot of heat too, and a lot of energy is used to cool these servers. Why not combine the two? If servers, primarily ones with many GPUs (Graphical Processing Units), which produce a lot of heat, and that also don’t need a consistent internet connection, could be placed inside homes. This would cut down on cooling bills for server owners, and heating bills for homeowners, especially if the server owners pay for most of the server electricity requirements. If this price was split 80/20 with the server owners paying the majority, this would cut down price and energy consumption for both parties. Seeing as GPUs are most effective at running many simple, individual tasks at once. Servers with many GPUs which also don’t a constant internet connection would probably be used for hash cracking or some sort or protein folding. These are processes which can run continuously with little interruption, so they could largely supplant the central heating systems of many homes. Servers can be rather dense in terms of heating capability, so space constraints would not be a significant issue. However, this practice would have to take place in more northern climates, because the summer months could be counterproductive The company would probably have to pay for the host home’s cooling bill to make this system seem attractive to more people.