A pay per cycle Grid model

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via HPC Anwers

HPCAnswers points to an interesting project called CPUShare. The effort aims to create a global market for CPU cycles sitting under people’s counters at home in the same way that SETI@home (and others) have, with the twist that cycle owners are able to charge cycle users for the time they use.

This implementation is still early; the web site’s home page shows about 3,000 total accounts and the real time stats show 42 sellers and 1 buyer. Right now applications have to be ported to the CPUShare runtime environment, but if demand grows support for MPI may be added.

This kind of computing is obviously only applicable to problems with really relaxed synchronization requirements and probably very light data transfer between processors during the computation. Distributed rendering comes to mind as a possible customer.

Although its early I think the idea is pretty interesting and parallels some of the same ideas the National Innovation Collaboration Infrastructure being promoted by Bob Graybill (which is at a much larger scale).