It costs a lot of money to build a supercomputer. Some argue that it is pretty costly in scientific terms. To help overcome this hurdle, more scientists are resorting to cloud computing networks to handle workloads and datasets traditionally reserved for single, extremely powerful machines. Amazon, a popular dystopian giant, usually offers these cloud networks, and they’re now being used for some suitably dystopian climate modelling.
According to a recent report, experts from the nonprofit organisation SilverLining are looking into the possibility of using Amazon cloud computing for “solar radiation management.” SilverLining can create climate simulations utilising Bezos’ networks, including humans releasing tons of microscopic, reflective particles into the stratosphere to recreate a volcanic winter. Don’t worry if the idea is ridiculous, ironic, or has already been addressed in The Simpsons.
While reducing the amount of solar energy that heats the world, the existential crisis of climate change may be solved. However, it also has the potential to exacerbate our situation.
“Studies have shown that it could bring risks, such as causing crop die-offs and being essentially impossible to stop once a solar dimming plan is launched,” the report reads.
Furthermore, it states that the world is in a very tough spot right now. Therefore no idea is off the table right now.
However, in the long run, using cloud computing networks rather than single, personal supercomputers could vastly improve research opportunities in countries where such equipment or infrastructure to support adequate internet speeds is missing.
“In theory, if you have them on the cloud, then you really open up the ability to work on these things to exponentially larger numbers of researchers, let alone people who aren’t researchers,” Kelly Wanser, SilverLining’s executive director, stated.
Of course, the irony of enlisting the services of Amazon, of all firms, to explore climate change solutions is not lost on the scientists.
“It’s going to be really, really hard for us to solve the climate crisis if we’re not working with the corporations that operate at scale in the system,” Wanser said.
It seems reasonable. There is no such thing as ethical consumption or anything else along those lines regarding cloud computing.