A new company is developing a way to allow anyone to sell their unused computing capacity
Spotted: MIT spinoff Conduit is hoping to make systems like Amazon Web Services obsolete with a decentralised cloud computing model called collective computing. Here is how it works: on average, most computers use only around three-eighths of their computing capacity at any given time. To take advantage of this, Conduit is building a new type of computer network. This network can harness unused or excess computing power from anywhere in the world and supply the surplus to companies or research institutions that need it. The company’s system has been described as “an Airbnb for computers,” and will pay for the excess computing power that it uses.
The Conduit system works using a process called parallelisation, which divides computational tasks into small chunks that can then be parcelled out to different computers. The company decided to start by harnessing the power of under-utilised supercomputers at universities, and offering this to biotech companies that need to run rapid drug development simulations. Using Conduit’s system could provide as much as 100 petraflops of computing power (equal to around 100 million iPhones), on demand.