Microsoft Builds Underwater Data Centers

The ocean is home to many strange relics of human existence, from a Texas-sized garbage patch, to barnacle-encrusted oil rigs to gold-bullion-filled shipwrecks. Now, scientists are hoping to add cloud-computing data centers to the list.

Microsoft Research has built a prototype data center that it recently deployed beneath the waves off the California coast. Ultimately, the new research endeavor, called Project Natick, aims to use seawater to cool the thousands of computers used in a typical data center. Building underwater data centers could also speed up data delivery, the researchers involved say.

“Half of the world’s population lives within 200 kilometers [124 miles] of the sea, so bringing data centers to the ocean made a huge amount of sense to be able to make the actual cable to our customers as short as possible,” Jeff Kramer, a research engineer with Microsoft, said in a video about the project. [The 10 Craziest Environmental Ideas]

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