Golem – a peer to peer, decentralised supercomputer

Signal of change / Golem – a peer to peer, decentralised supercomputer

By Joy Green / 06 Jun 2017

The Golem project is in the process of creating a ‘global, open sourced, decentralised supercomputer that anyone can access’. It’s a network that aims to combine the power of users’ machines, ranging from humble laptops to entire datacentres. Spare computing capacity is rented out for use by individual users - a sort of Airbnb for computers - and can be used in aggregate to run almost any kind of programme. The creators of Golem envisage it being a much cheaper and faster way to carry out intensive computation for areas such as scientific research, CGI rendering, machine learning, cryptography and big data analysis.

Golem is currently in early stages, alpha testing its proof-of-concept version.

So what?

If successful, Golem will give inexpensive and easy access to supercomputer-levels of computation, which is likely to have ramifications for a vast range of sectors across the world. For example, imagine what impact it could have for research and innovation in developing countries.

It presents a challenge to the current centralized cloud computing model – and in fact to very infrastructure of the current internet, which is dominated by large monopolistic providers. The decentralised (ultimately blockchain-based) model underlying Golem aims to connect users directly to each other in a self-organising structure, cutting out middle-men and disrupting the current set of large corporations that act as gatekeepers. Golem could be a harbinger of the future of the internet itself.




This signal was spotted by Michaela Rose:

"Can you imagine what this could mean for the global data volume and the exponential growth of computing power we have already seen!"


The Golem Project creates the first global market for idle computer power.

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

The Air bnb analogy is a slight simplification. If you're renting out your computer then it works a bit like Air bnb in that you get paid for your computer power. If you're a paying user you basically pay for access to a powerful virtual machine that's run in an isolated environment. The transaction framework is based on Ethereum, so payments are in cryptocurrency. There is more info in the FAQ at https://github.com/golemfactory/golem/wiki/FAQ
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