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Even supercomputers need space


A few months ago I was watching a documentary on supercomputing and there was a quick, casual, offhand mention that most of the space used by Google's D-Wave was for cooling.  A second 'toid was that the amount of energy needed for this 'quantum computer' was very high.  The point of the segment was that things that are big now will be smaller tomorrow...

...but do they actually need to be?

Space is big.  Space beyond the Earth's atmosphere can take substantial energy directly from solar capture without the major diffraction limitations on Earth.  And, in the places not directly in line of that energy, space is cold.

Solar panels get the energy, crafts behind the solar panels are cold... and Space is big, so big that it's not silly or wasteful to have a computer as large as those from the 1950s.  Small is nice but not required.

There is the speed of light data travel issue at the GEO distance, as Satellite Internet users are well aware when they try to do coop gaming... but closer birds make that negligible and most data doesn't need to be instantaneous (Lunar data shots are only 2.5 seconds).

So while the PR continues to say that big companies want only to be humanitarians by placing rings of wifi sats in LEO, the big win for them is that Space is just a great place to put your smartest assets... the watchers, the crunchers and the directors. 

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