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Showing posts from January, 2008

Green Broadband can save the planet?

This blog posting is an oddity - Bill St. Arnaud suggests a micropayment scheme whereby consumers pay for broadband services by increasing the cost of their household electricity (or car mileage) for a certain duration. The utility companies then pay this amount to the broadband service provider. So the service provider gets income from a source other than advertising; the consumer gets reasonably priced product, and the consumer reduces their energy usage because the price has gone up for that period.

I don't see it happening, myself, but it's an interesting piece of lateral thinking.

More on "green" data centres

In order to expand our "community of practice" on energy-efficient data centres, we have visited several people or groups who have an interest in the topic.

Just over a week ago, some NeSC colleagues and I visited BRE's Scottish office. BRE used to be known as the Buildings Research Establishment and the folk at their East Kilbride office are particularly interested in sustainable development. So far they've been mainly working with housing and small businesses, but they seem potentially interested in modelling larger establishments. They are also interested in multi-level modelling of heat flow within buildings; something our e-science connections could definitely help with. We also had a good conversation about DC power circuits.

This week, I was invited to speak at a meeting of the Russell University Group IT directors (RUGIT) - i.e. the people responsible for ICT at many of our leading universities. I presented some of the outcomes from the HTC week in Novembe…

Data Protection, TPM and Grids

This week, the e-Science Institute launched a new research theme which should be of great relevance to industry as well as scientists - in fact, it may even help ordinary consumers to protect our own privacy online. The theme is about "Trust and Security in Virtual Communities". Andrew Martin, the theme leader, explained its aim in a webcast talk.

The problem that Andrew is exploring is how we can trust a grid infrastructure to protect our sensitive data. In addition, how can we trust the results that we get back from running a job on "the computing cloud"?

To give one concrete example, Andrew was involved in the climateprediction.net project, which encouraged people to contributed their PC's spare cycles to run climate modelling simulations. This raised several security issues. From the users' point of view, could they trust that the climateprediction.net program would not hijack their PC? Conversely, could the scientists trust that the data sets return…