Turn On the Server. It’s Cold Inside.: This is either brilliant or ridiculous. Perhaps both? I love the idea, though.
The paper looks at how the servers — though still operated by their companies — could be placed inside homes and used as a source of heat. The authors call the concept the “data furnace.”
They acknowledge that it is more likely that data furnaces, if adopted, would be placed first in basements of office and apartment buildings, not in individual homes. But as a “thought-provoking exercise,” the authors give homes the bulk of their attention.
I worked at Citibank in Sioux Falls for 10 years. The call center floors each had hundreds and hundreds of cubicles, each with a computer. The accepted rumor was that the buildings were not explicitly heated, but just warmed by the CPUs of what amount to probably 5,000 individual machines. It seemed a little far-fetched to me, but everyone swore it was the truth.