The skyrocketing values of cryptocurrencies have led to an unusual number of people beginning to familiarize themselves with the Blockchain. The security, anonymity and enormity of the Blockchain model is catching the eye of other industries as well, including health care, energy, tourism and food.
In fact, the most natural and immediately viable use for Blockchain may be in the creation of the world’s largest supercomputer via distributed computation.
Data too big?
The rise of big data and AI/ML in the tech world has caused a great need for additional computing power. In fact, the need is escalating so rapidly that enterprise-level companies are taking notice and seeking solutions.
HPE recently unveiled a memory-based computing system with 160 TB of memory, which it believes is scalable to four yottabytes (far in excess of all the data ever produced by humanity, by the way).
It also provides super-fast computational times because computations are not pushed through a processor. The system is intended for high-speed high-data computations.
But solutions like these are cost-prohibitive. Few companies can begin to touch the cost of a system like this, regardless of the quality of the computing, and individual consumers are priced out immediately.
Blockchain as a solution
However, the Blockchain technology allows for a much better solution. Nearly every computer in the world is running at less than full capacity.
Because of that, users who are not maximizing their computational power can make some money on the side by renting computer power via a peer-to-peer Blockchain network and make a little side cash.
The overall effect of such a system would be massive computing power, beyond the scale of any available system. Because of the nature of the Blockchain with distributed ledgers, the computation could actually be shifted to where data is being processed and therefore avoid the inevitable lag that happens with centralized cloud servers.
The obvious benefits have already brought investors into the untapped marketplace. Initiatives like Golem and iEx.ec have raised funds and are seeking solutions to implementation. Like other shared economies, each individual has an account and is able to offer their computational power in exchange for currency to whatever level desired.
The flexibility of the distributed ledger system means that each user could have a simple account, with dynamic pricing driven by feedback. The Blockchain technology allows for feasible maintenance of such accounts.
What’s more, initiatives like Golem also allow developers to create and design applications which function within the chain and allow users access, free or for a fee. All of this is open-source, and because of the user interface built by Golem, very user-friendly. Hence, for a relatively small price tag, every user can access the equivalent of an HPE-sized model. While there are still many hurdles, the system seems viable enough for VR funding.
- by Jon Buck
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