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A new research project demonstrates how solar power could power the Internet

Internet use creates an enormous carbon footprint as a result of the huge amount of energy used to power servers computer systems, systems, as well as other devices. As we continue to increasingly rely on the Internet for our daily lives, the carbon footprint will increase.

Enter Solar Protocol. It’s a fresh project that provides a solution on how you can reduce carbon emissions by making use of the Internet.

The project was developed by researchers from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, the project is a website platform that is run by volunteers on over a dozen and solar-powered servers across the globe from the Caribbean from Africa up to Australia.

“Besides being a workable system with implications for future servers, it constitutes a global installation that spotlights the politics of the web and different ways to track web traffic,” the creators of the system provide.

Contrary to high-volume web services which automatically route traffic through networks to a server which responds to requests in the fastest method, solar power Protocol’s system is based on the sun’s interactions with the Earth to guide its operation method.

Since solar-powered servers are situated in time zones that have various seasons with different sun exposure , and different conditions, this system routes Internet visitors to server that are located where sunlight is visible at moment. This means that when an internet user on the Solar Protocol website connects to it, it’s the server that generates the most energy from solar power and responds.

Solar Protocol provides a wonderful chance for us to consider the questions of climate change and the impact of technology on the process, says Tega Brain Professor in the department of Technology Culture and Society who was one of the developers of the project.

The project has sparked conversations regarding AI or automation as traffic in the network is determined by solar energy. Therefore, we’re using data from natural and dynamic sources versus the machine learning model that is driven by data as an alternative. What is the reason to think of planet-wide limitations as being intelligent? In the end, they’ll influence the future of humankind regardless of whether we want it or not. Brain elucidates.

While the project is in its infancy the project could become an example for other environmentally mindful Internet projects, its creators affirm.

This is not opposed to internet access, therefore this is not a way to increase the size of the network or to make it more accessible, says Benedetta Piantella who works at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. “But we are publishing the system as an open standard, which means, theoretically, anyone could launch a similar network ? say, a network of art museums.”

The article A new project illustrates how solar power could be used to power the Internet was originally published at Sustainability Times.

 

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