It’s a good thing we all learned to share in kindergarten (well, most of us anyway).
There’s a new kind of collaboration going on known as the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption movement. Courtesy of startups like Airbnb and TaskRabbit, sharing your car and divvying up your chores has become a trend.
But did you know you can just as easily share the not-so-materialistic things in your life? Thanks to CPUsage, a startup based in Portland, OR, you can get paid for your extraneous computing power – and watch it be redistributed to someone – or an entire company – who may need it.
Here’s a little more about the endeavor straight from the company’s co-founder, Jeff Martens:
“The idea is that there are so many computers around the world that sit idle most of the day. In the U.S. alone, there are 250 million PCSs – and most of us let those computers sit idle most of the time. And even when we do use them, the average person is using about five percent or less of the CPU’s capabilities.”
According to Martens, CPUsage’s role is to harness the unused processing power of those virtual sitting-ducks and repurpose it by selling it to companies that can use it - chiefly, those with major performance needs. Data visualization-based businesses is one prime example of a platform that could definitely benefit from your computer’s “wasted” power – simply due to its high-performance requirements.
Why Didn’t I Think of That?
Because NASA did. The concept of sharing power was first initiated by a Space Sciences Laboratory project which redirected extraneous power towards searching for extra-terrestrial life! For Martens, however, the idea was a little more down-to-earth: he was working at an electronic design automation company when a colleague of his, who worked at Sun Microsystems, kept whining about how long it took for him to run his simulations. The light when off in Martens’ brain, which spawned the CPUsage startup.
How Does it Work?
CPUsage performs rather easily, with little work required on the user-end of things. Users need only download the proprietary software, install the program and sit back. Their program runs in the background, withdrawing itself to allow that user’s priority programs to run first – and a taskbar displays how much money is earned as well as how much power a software program is using at all times.
The program has been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. It begins running at a computer’s startup, and if that computer goes beyond a particular usage level, it automatically shuts off. So users needn’t ever worry about their computer lagging or freezing due to the extra work it is performing.
Right now, CPUSsage is available exclusively for Windows, but the company has an objective to hit Linux and OS X, too. Currently, there are thousands of users with more on a waiting list, and these numbers are growing, according to the energy-intercepting team.