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Competitive Servers

Servers use spare time to play games against each other
 
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Almost all big businesses or schools have server rooms somewhere, filled with rack after rack of file or database servers. However, when they're not being accessed, they compute little and serve no purpose.

To entertain their maintainers, and perhaps introduce a new form of gambling, I propose that these machines be programmed to duel each other when they are otherwise unoccupied. Via two large screens suspended from the ceiling, onlookers could watch as servers duke it out in Unreal Tournament, or play chess or global thermonuclear war.

Of course, to minimize latency, should one of the servers get a request of some sort, the game would pause until the task is complete.

As usual, I had difficulty placing this one. Any suggestions?

rgovostes, Jan 30 2004

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       Shall we play a game?
theircompetitor, Jan 30 2004
  

       As a slight aside, I worked in a large pharmaceutical company with a bespoke building management system on its own network (4 core twisted pair yadda yadda). When times they did change we had the opportunity to use Ethernet Drivers over the company intranet to connect remote LANs to the site. Corporate IT, being who they are, got involved and tested the devices to ensure that the network traffic was not excessively high. It came to about 0.0005% of their bandwidth but they were rejected nonetheless.
Same day I saw my boss playing real time shoot'emups over the corporate LAN with 3 IT guys. Do the Sums.
gnomethang, Jan 31 2004
  

       Isn't this kinda what's happening with all these virus thingies, where servers are battling each other over the Internet, as the rest of us look on bewildered and deprived of email service?
DrCurry, Jan 31 2004
  

       This idea is sorta baked already, SETI@Home. http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/   

       These guys are searching the universe for extra-terrestrial life, and using Servers all over the world to do it. http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/stats/users.html   

       Though, admittedly this idea is no where near as exciting as an Unreal Tournament Tournament. Croissant!!
kryo, Feb 01 2004
  

       Wouldn't it be a better idea, like [kyro] suggested, to use this time for distributed computing? Not necessarily SETI, but a local university, say.
Detly, Feb 01 2004
  

       Unreal Tournament isn't an RPG, it is a first person shooter. It also already has a fairly advanced "bot" system, so that part is already taken care of.   

       Sure, distributed computing would be more beneficial - but not necessarily entertaining. SETI@home is also not very competitive :)
rgovostes, Feb 01 2004
  

       Most of the time servers are left alone in darks rooms unless they break down. So, there is no one just watching them. Also, the amount of power consumed when they aren't being used is greatly reduced, so having your servers running useless programs would run up your bill. In addition, programs like that take up a lot of server memory and cause defragging. Both of those are serious issues.
Ebassick15, May 26 2004
  

       //Also, the amount of power consumed when they aren't being used is greatly reduced//   

       Is it really? Does a running, but idle, computer use (significantly) less power than a running, busy computer?
Detly, May 27 2004
  

       Yes. I know this empirically because my workstation's cooling system is inaudible when the machine is idling or just running simple code. When I start a 3D render, or other similar intensive task, the fans slowly start spinning up in reaction to the increased heat the CPUs are throwing off. Before long it's howling. So, not only are the CPUs drawing more current and generating more heat but the cooling system is drawing more current as well.   

       As for [Ebassick15]'s "cause defragging" comment, I don't know what that's supposed to mean.
bristolz, May 27 2004
  

       One would think having servers play UT against each other would cause *fragging*...
rgovostes, Jul 28 2004
  
      
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