GrabCAD met John Kenevey from Facebook's Open Compute Project (OCP) a short while ago and both sides immediately saw the chance for a great partnership. Their team is on a "mission to collectively develop the most efficient computing infrastructure possible" and we know the innovative power that comes from our engineering and design community. This is especially true for OCP's upcoming Hardware Hack and Summit. If any GrabCAD'rs out there want to solve a tangible, hardware problem then here is your chance. Check out the message from OCP, below:
OCP will host it's first hardware hackathon at the upcoming summit, January 16/17. Registration opens today. You can register for the hack at http://www.eventfarm.com/ocphack. We are limiting attendance to 100+ people. Registering for the hack will also register you for the entire OCP summit. We ask that once you register for the hack that you participate in the entire hack, 6-10 hours over the course of the two day OCP summit.
Participating engineers will use the Upverter platform (see www.upverter.com) among others. We will provide tutorials and the Upverter team will be available to provide guidance throughout the hack. We will break the hackers into different teams for the duration of the hack and present the end results at the summits plenary on the 17th. Once you register we will start working with you on ideation. We will provide reference material on hardware design and circulate information on Upverter tools.
Goal: Design a set of "lego" blocks that can be applied to the scale compute datacenter space with a focus on improving energy efficiency, operational efficiency and cost reduction.
- ECAD: Upverter.
- Electrical & Holistic collaboration: Upverter.
- Software collaboration: Github.
- Mechanical collaboration: GrabCAD.
Skill set: ElecEng, MechEng, SWEng, Designer. (Ideally each team has a combination of these skill sets.)
Starting point: We recommend starting with a really simple circuit that can be modified, or even whole-scale deleted, but it provides a great base to scaffold onto. It could be a connector, a micro-controller or a power circuit.
Physical tools: We are going to avoid the machine shop, soldering irons, etc. that go along with building real stuff during a hackathon and focus on the design side. The tradeoff is that we will get everything professionally manufactured post summit.
Example hack project: use low-power sensors for temperature information across a datacenter. Use the Zigbee wireless protocol and aggregate the heat data across the datacenter. This has the benefit of not requiring any additional wiring or interfaces.
- Power: Modules for generating different voltages, high performance, microcontroller controlled, sensor integrated, etc.
- Comms: IR through WIFI, through cellular. There are huge advancements we could make in drop-–-in communication modules.
- Brains: Microcontrollers, development boards, etc.
- Storage: Flash, cold, etc.
- Sensors: Power, light, heat, airflow, etc.
- Combos: Take a sensor, comm, and a brain and you’re already fundamentally changing the way datacenters operate.
Look for GrabCAD at the event talking collaboration and community. Let's help revolutionize computing infrastructure and celebrate open source engineering. Which problem is most interesting to you: power, communication, brains, storage, sensors, or a hybrid solution? Show OCP your support!