PERISCOPE partner EMEC works with Microsoft on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine
PERISCOPE partner European Marine Energy Centre has sunk a data centre in the sea off Orkney for the computing giant Microsoft to investigate whether it can boost energy efficiency. Thisbexperimental Microsoft datacenter on the seabed in the Orkney Islands is processing workloads for a global, distributed computing project to understand the viral proteins that cause COVID-19 and design therapeutics to stop them.
PERISCOPE partner, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), has sunk a data centre in the sea off Orkney for the computing giant Microsoft to investigate whether it can boost energy efficiency. The data centre, a white cylinder containing computers, could potentially sit on the seabed for up to five years. An undersea cable brings the data centre power and takes its data to the shore and the wider internet, but if the computers onboard break, they cannot be repaired. A major goal for the Northern Isles deployment is to study how well the system’s plumbing maintains operational temperatures while the 864 standard datacenter servers are running all the time. To keep the servers humming even when they are not processing workloads for Microsoft, distributed computing jobs are run on them. Distributed computing projects harness otherwise idle computer processing power to perform specific tasks for big science research.
Microsoft describes the project as out-of-the-box idea to meet rapidly growing demand for cloud computing infrastructure near population centres, whilst being less resource intensive and offering rapid provisioning, lower costs, and high agility.
The project is being partly supported by the INTERREG NWE FORESEA programme which has facilitated continuous remote monitoring from the Microsoft team based in Washington, USA.
Read more about the project here.
Image © EMEC