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Energy efficient High Performance Computing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EeHPC (Energy efficient High Performance Computing)

Reporting period: 2014-11-01 to 2015-04-30

Qarnot computing aims at developing a flexible High Performance Computing grid able to reuse the heat emitted by computation units for the heating purposes of houses and business premises.

Regularly, huge data centers are built, to store and compute data. The needs, including computation power, are becoming increasingly important, which explains the creation and implementation of more and more of these data centers. However, the past few years have shown that these clusters are particularly energy-consuming not only because of the computations but also because of the cooling systems.

Qarnot’s idea is to sell processing power on the cloud. The calculations are smartly distributed to a remote computing grid. The grid is composed of calculation units that are actually electric heaters. The heat is produced by the processors performing the computing.

Qarnot computing sells cloud HPC on the one hand, and refunds the electricity used by electric heaters on the other hand. This solution allows Qarnot to build progressively a scalable computing grid avoiding the massive investments of a data center. Qarnot can therefore propose a very energy- efficient cloud HPC for a reasonable price. This is one key point to address the HPC market which already represents billions of euros. Qarnot will be able to propose greener cloud HPC for a lower price than competitors.

After preliminary work achieved technical satisfactions and led to a strong interest of potential customers, the EeHPC project will allow to generally refine the company business plan to reach the market with a maximized marketing and commercialization strategy. This has to be done in parallel with a new visual and industrial design of the Q.rad (the computation enabled heaters).
In June 2014, Qarnot computing applied to phase 1 of the SME Instrument and has been financed to lead its feasibility study. This study consisted in defining the next steps according to market studies all along the value chain to leverage developments and investments, both on cloud HPC side and heating side. The aim was to prepare the company to reach the market with a marketing and commercialisation strategy in a general refined business plan. The business plan represented the most important goal of this feasibility study since Qarnot went through the technological feasibility study and proved the project’s viability. Furthermore, even if the solution was already operational at this point, R&D has been necessary to pursue its development as a cloud HPC vendor; this had to be done in parallel with a new visual design of the Q.rad.

The work performed during this phase 1 has led to design new version of the digital heater in a go-to-market perspective: the Q.rad V2 (see figure on “publishable Summary’s associated images part”). Indeed, on the hosting side, the first version of the Q.rad was focused on free heating. But once deployed in a house, the Q.rads digital heaters have a strategic option: they are present in every room. This privileged situation is todays Holy Grail for the Smart Home business conquest, the new Qarnot computing’s business model direction. In sum, Qarnot computing worked during this phase on market study, new business model orientation, price strategy and new design activities.

Thus, the results led us to the definition of the next objectives. For now, the four mains technical objectives of the project applying for SME instrument phase 2 are:

- To industrialize the new Q.rad digital heater for a high-end quality production;
- To provide a corporate grade cloud HPC platform through remote computing services;
- To implement the IP policy to disseminate the digital heater technology internationally;
- To develop a strong international marketing & communication strategy;
- To develop key partnerships for R&D and distribution.
The cloud HPC activity is growing very fast especially due to the increasing demand of computing power from companies. Both the European and global market are rising and creating huge business opportunities. In the meantime, almost all European countries and a large part of the world need heating solutions. In that regard, gas and electric heaters represent a significant market share especially in France. Considering these facts, the solution proposed by Qarnot can address European and global challenges. At the same time, after a slow start, home automation has reached an inflection point with smart home perspective very profitable. Service providers, including telcos, cable operators, and home security companies, as well as retailers and device OEMs alike are bringing to this market a range of new hardware, services, and offers.

To Qarnot computing, the expected outcome is therefore to build the next generation of Cloud computing, with:

- Price & sustainability by reducing costs related to infrastructure, maintenance and cooling and spreading heat directly in buildings for free;
- Performance & reliability by using high-end hardware and efficiently handling the workload (re)distribution with the Q.ware;
- Scalability through the Q.rad technology, extensible by design and easily deployable in any type of building;
- Flexibility & compatibility by providing up to several thousand CPUs for durations as small as one minute according to our clients‟ needs;
- Availability by dedicating an important part of our capacity to free and low-priority academic computations. This capacity can be instantly mobilized for clients‟ needs;
- Security by proposing state-of-the-art encryption and leveraging on the decentralized approach.