[Beowulf] Collocation in Iceland?

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Wed Sep 5 10:47:10 PDT 2012

On 09/05/2012 10:23 AM, Joe Landman wrote:
> On 09/05/2012 09:25 AM, Prentice Bisbal wrote:
>> On 09/05/2012 12:38 AM, Joe Landman wrote:
>>> On 09/05/2012 12:28 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
>>>> But as long as we're talking quarrys and such, what about the scheme of
>>>> building a big pit to fill full of ice during the winter, and melting it
>>>> during the summer. (assuming you are in a
>>>> less-than-wonderful-un-California-like climate where this would work.)
>>> I bet a good business case could be made for something like this.  The
>>> west coast of Michigan is rich in having good wind availability and an
>>> excellent (and visible from space) reservoir of very cold water that
>>> could be used in heat exchangers to cool data centers.  Use the cool air
>>> during the cooler months, and the cold water during the warmer months.
>>> Given the proximity to Chicago, I'd think it would make for a good
>>> business to house LOTS of servers in a naturally well air conditioned
>>> environment.    I can't imagine that the AC bill in Secaucus and
>>> elsewhere in New Jersey is very pleasant.  Could ring the Great Lakes
>>> with these.
>>> A shame I don't have the capital to do this.  Bet we could sell out the
>>> space.  Without using oil, hydrogen/helium, or LN2.
>> I don't think that would be a wise investment, since Iceland is poised
>> to become the colocation capital, due to it's cold temperatures and
>> cheap, environmentally friendly geothermal energy. They're also looking
>> to increase the network bandwidth between Iceland and Europe and North
>> America. I brought this up on this list a couple of months ago:
>> http://www.beowulf.org/pipermail/beowulf/2012-April/029613.html
> Yeah ... but geography/location and other things conspire against this
> becoming anything more than a niche player.
> In HFT latency matters.  Really ... seriously ... matters.  36
> milliseconds to get to the DC?  Won't fly.  The folks we work with are
> looking to shave microseconds off everything.  Anything and everything
> is on the table for this.
> Extending the distance to your DC by a few thousand miles to take
> advantage of cheaper power while losing out on the fastest trading?  Not
> gonna happen.
Changing subject since this is really a new thread.


Did you read the second link in my post from the archives?  Here it as 
again, since I think I didn't copy-and-paste the URL correctly in my 
original post (the beginning of the URL was missing)


There's a lot of HFT that involves trading between different markets. I 
think this mostly the currencies/commodities. So someone might buy 
something on one exchange in NYC, and then sell it again on an exchange 
in London or Tokyo.

Because the HFT guys have reduced latency so much, the speed of light is 
now a significant factor in their trades. In the paper above, an MIT 
Math professor calculated the best location to minimize latency between 
different markets around the world. A couple of the locations he 
calculated are in Iceland. There's a few dots in Iceland, too.

As someone who lives in the NYC metro area and can see firsthand the 
kind of money these HFT guys are throwing around, I would not be 
surprised to see data centers opening up in Greenland or Iceland, 
provided the networking is there. Heck, they're rich enough to put the 
networking there.


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