In Startup Weekend Profiles, we highlight teams and ideas that made it big during Startup Weekend. Big enough, in fact, to get noticed by folks willing to get those ideas off the ground and turn them into a full-blown venture.
Most homes these days have more than one computer: there’s probably a desktop and a couple of laptops, at the very least. In addition, devices you probably won’t classify as computer are really just that. Mobile phones are computers, so are media players, set-top boxes, iPads and game consoles are all computers. That all represents a large amount of processing power that’s basically untapped, and that’s not even counting idle computers in offices and internet shops everywhere.
Jeff Martens had the excellent idea of putting all those computing resources together into solving real problems that needed the thinking power of billions of computers. It’s not original of course since at least a couple of initiatives already that do something similar like The University of California, Berkeley’s BOINC software that powers SETI@Home among others, and Stanford University’s Folding@Home that uses distributed computing for disease research. What’s different is that CPUsage is aiming to use that idle computing in more commercial applications like 3D animation and corporate scientific research.
The idea came to Jeff when he was talking to a friend a while back in the semiconductor industry that was complaining about the length of time wasted in testing and verifying new chip designs that took as long as 15 hours before results were returned. Jeff thought that combining what he just learned about grid computing with commercial applications would be an excellent solution to that problem as well as many others.
The tagline of CPUsage is simple: “harnessing the power of idle computers.” The great thing about their startup is that it is built on open-source standards. One of their offerings will be based on a custom open-source solution while the other will be a totally custom solution.
The team is now starting a campaign to raise their first round of funding and their aim is to get at least $600k to power their first year of operation.
It’s an excellent idea and many industries that need processing power but don’t want to invest in maintaining their own server farm will likely be interested as well. If this can be implemented in a smaller scale, like utilizing your idle Wii to let you handle humongous spreadsheets at your laptop, I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only person interested.