Oregon IEEE Solid State Circuits Society

Wednesday June 20, 2012

Server Sky - Solid State Data Centers in Orbit

Satellites are overdue for a planar technology makeover. Your smartphone contains more transistors and advanced technology than a three hundred million dollar satellite. Satellites are 99.9% packaging by weight, and cost far too much to launch. What if a "satellite" was more like a cloud of smartphones instead of a 1970 telephone central office switch?

Server sky is a speculative answer to this question. Deep submicron CMOS and micron-thick indium phosphide solar cells are inherently rad-hard. These and other recently deployed technologies enable "thinsats", 50 micron thick gram-weight satellites in large arrays, converting megawatts of PV output into computation and microwave communication.

The sun wastes 380 trillion terawatts on empty space - if we can use and dissipate a tiny fraction of that power on our mass computing needs, we can continue growing computation markets without expensive infrastructure and environmental burdens. Moore's Law, which is really a promise of exponentially increasing capability per dollar, can continue into the far future.

Applications such as orbiting data centers can serve rapidly growing markets in developing nations, and provide batch computation for simulation, rendering, and climate modelling.

This may be an incredible opportunity for regional companies - we have the technologies, the manufacturing capability, and the global connections to create economic and environmental wealth for the entire planet and beyond, while providing profits and jobs locally. Server sky is being developed as open technology. Please join us and learn how you can participate.

Keith Lofstrom is an integrated circuit designer and occasional entrepreneur. Graduating from UC Berkeley in 1975, and Tektronix in 1989, he has designed data converters, crossbar switches, femtosecond-jitter timing sources, LCD displays, toy electronics, and many other mixed signal chips. He founded Siidtech, which licenses ICID, an integrated circuit identification cell used for device tracking, product authentication, and data protection. He helped write the IEEE 1149.4 mixed signal boundary scan standard. He is active in open source, space launch, alternative medicine, and other communities. He doesn't get enough sleep.

SSCSOR (last edited 2015-01-16 04:51:50 by KeithLofstrom)