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The Data Submarine


The Data Submarine

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Steve Jones
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below86 - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:05 AM
My concern is the environment, what affect this will have on sea life? Let's quit using the oceans as a dumping ground. I know there is no visible waist, but the heat entering the water is 'waste'. The oceans are warming up enough now, let's not add more to it. As walkerjan said there are better ways of doing this.


The article addresses some of this, though there is a difference between 1 of these and 100 of them in any space.

"The biggest environmental concern with a system like this is the heat it produces as the byproduct of computing. Microsoft researchers claim that the heat it puts out doesn’t make enough of a difference to be concerned. Results from the first phase of Project Natick showed that the heat from the pod quickly mixed with cold water and dissipated due to currents.

“The water just meters downstream of a Natick vessel would get a few thousandths of a degree warmer at most,” the researchers wrote in an article for IEEE Spectrum. “So the environmental impact would be very modest.”


"

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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:50 AM

I suspect there are radiators of some sort to absorb heat inside and radiate to the container. I wonder if they would have pumps at all since those typically need maintenance. Might be passive cooling piping that lets water flow, perhaps using natural movement as water heats. There isn't air inside, so no moisture issues. I would suspect that they hope it remains uncovered and water flows across it, just using convection for heat dispersal.


And I'm wrong. Reading closer, there is piping for move water through the interior and they are concerned about fouling. Still a chore/job that likely will be needed.

though, perhaps AI robots can do this.

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below86
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:53 AM
below86 - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:05 AM
My concern is the environment, what affect this will have on sea life? Let's quit using the oceans as a dumping ground. I know there is no visible waist, but the heat entering the water is 'waste'. The oceans are warming up enough now, let's not add more to it. As walkerjan said there are better ways of doing this.


The article addresses some of this, though there is a difference between 1 of these and 100 of them in any space.

"The biggest environmental concern with a system like this is the heat it produces as the byproduct of computing. Microsoft researchers claim that the heat it puts out doesn’t make enough of a difference to be concerned. Results from the first phase of Project Natick showed that the heat from the pod quickly mixed with cold water and dissipated due to currents.

“The water just meters downstream of a Natick vessel would get a few thousandths of a degree warmer at most,” the researchers wrote in an article for IEEE Spectrum. “So the environmental impact would be very modest.”


"

The heat to the water may be minimal downstream for one, but as you say 100 or 1,000 of these, and heat a tracks life. What happens to that life when one or more of these goes down? What happens when/if they decide to remove them all together? You have created a small eco system that will be damaged. There is always a ripple affect.


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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:53 AM
Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:50 AM

I suspect there are radiators of some sort to absorb heat inside and radiate to the container. I wonder if they would have pumps at all since those typically need maintenance. Might be passive cooling piping that lets water flow, perhaps using natural movement as water heats. There isn't air inside, so no moisture issues. I would suspect that they hope it remains uncovered and water flows across it, just using convection for heat dispersal.


And I'm wrong. Reading closer, there is piping for move water through the interior and they are concerned about fouling. Still a chore/job that likely will be needed.

though, perhaps AI robots can do this.

Heh, I was just getting ready to point out that in one of the pics in the article (and the MS blog post it links to as well,) you can see the "guts" of the datacenter, including regular air-fans to circulate the air in the pressure vessel.

More likely, for clearing the intake / outflows, they'd use an ROV rather than an autonomous robot, if only to reduce the chance of an accident and have a better chance to deal with something unexpected (like a not-so-friendly octopus making it's home over the outflow.) If I recall right, as well, the unit is only ~100-150 feet down which is well within sport diving (to say nothing of professional diving) limits. In which case they could hire a local diver to go down once a month with a crowbar to clear off the intake and outflow, probably for less than an ROV would run.
Steve Jones
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100 ft is fine. I've been down that far diving, and it would be a job. I hope they try humans, ROVs, and Roombas. I could see some robot that lives on this thing, circling it and keeping things clear.

Be interesting to see how it turns out in a year.

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Jeff Moden
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Heh... having served aboard submarines, I can tell you that you simply don't ever need to clean the hull. Just take 'er out into some deep water and put some serious turns on the screw. If there's anything living still hanging onto the hull after about 15 minutes of that, you should probably back away from it very slowly. BigGrin

As for building pressure containers and turning them into data centers and sending them to the bottom of littoral waters, it all seems to be a bit stupid. If you look at the number of sacrificial anodes they had to attach to the hull to keep the hull from disintegrating, you'll understand on of the many reasons why. Then there's the cost of cable, etc. I'll also tell you that 117 feet doesn't make these things immune from wave action during a good storm, never mind any special currents that happen when a tidal surge returns to the sea.

And, lordy, I hope this doesn't actually catch on. Imagine all the cables on, near, or under the seashore if it does.

I do think it's an interesting and clever endeavor but I think it would be much less expensive to rent some garage space from different companies downtown. You could probably save several years of rent on the cable cost reductions alone.

--Jeff Moden

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Perhaps, but they are looking to partner with some other offshore structures, like windmills or wave generators. In that case, you'd limit some of the potential wave issues, or you'd have some anchorage.

I'd like to think they'd have thought this through, but we'll see. This is their first ocean experiment, so things could be a mess.

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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:35 PM
...
I'd like to think they'd have thought this through, but we'll see. ...

Microsoft think things through? That's a good one Steve. You should add that to the joke thread.


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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:35 PM
Perhaps, but they are looking to partner with some other offshore structures, like windmills or wave generators. In that case, you'd limit some of the potential wave issues, or you'd have some anchorage.

I'd like to think they'd have thought this through, but we'll see. This is their first ocean experiment, so things could be a mess.


It would be interesting to know why a windmill or wave generator farm would need the capabilities of a dedicated data center. I can see a couple of computerized data collectors but those would fit in a coffee can.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
Steve Jones
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Jeff Moden - Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:37 PM


It would be interesting to know why a windmill or wave generator farm would need the capabilities of a dedicated data center. I can see a couple of computerized data collectors but those would fit in a coffee can.


They aren't for the windmill. The windmill supplies the power, or a portion of it, and there is an anchor and connectivity there. This is a synergy, not a support system.

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