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Iowa’s Hidden Silicon Valley

Posted March 11, 2024

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

Iowa’s Hidden Silicon Valley

“Data centers [have] reached a breaking point due to massive power consumption,” says Paradigm’s chief technology expert Ray Blanco.

“Rapid growth in internet traffic and cloud computing has led to skyrocketing energy demands for data centers around the world,” he says. 

“As more data is created, processed and stored, the power needed to operate massive banks of servers and infrastructure keeps increasing.

“According to the International Energy Agency, data center electricity requirements are projected to rise from 1% of total electricity demand to 8% by the end of the decade.

“And with new applications like high-definition video streaming, internet of things sensors and artificial intelligence becoming widespread, data center power usage just keeps escalating,” says Ray. 

“Cooling these facilities is also enormously energy intensive, further driving up electricity consumption.”

The cooling alone is something Ray reported last fall — as it pertains to water usage — when he said: “ChatGPT is thirsty… 

IOWA

“This explosion of AI adoption is rapidly accelerating the computing power needed in data centers, with the computing power for AI systems doubling every two–four months,” he says.

“Ultimately, next-generation optical interconnect technology will need to play a major role in curbing power usage. Otherwise, data center expansion risks being seriously constrained by energy availability, costs and environmental impacts.

“The solution to this problem comes from Mother Nature herself… 

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Your Rundown for Monday, March 11, 2024...

Energy’s Mother Nature-Inspired Solution

“There’s technology that’s already been developed,” Ray says, “using groundbreaking organic (carbon-based) electro-optic polymer materials that can bring blazing-fast internet speeds and, very importantly, solve the speed crunch in data centers.” 

By the way, another stop in ‘flyover country’ (and I don’t say that disparagingly) wants to become another technology hub. This Ohio city has an extensive history with polymers already… 

Emilia Tweet

“Novel polymers allow for high-speed light modulation in photonic devices — devices that use light, rather than electricity, to move data,” he says.

  • “These tiny chips can then be used in next-generation transceivers, the key components that transmit data through fiber-optic networks
  • “Pulses of light are sent through glass fibers carrying vast amounts of data at the speed of light. Transceivers contain lasers that convert electronic data from servers into optical signals
  • “On the receiving end, photodetectors in the transceivers convert the light back into electronic signals.”

Ray adds: “Organic polymer materials can modulate the laser light at incredibly fast speeds of up to 800 gigabits per second or more. This allows much more data to be transmitted through networks.

“The combination of high speed, low power, small size, stability and flexible materials makes polymer electro-optics very compelling solutions for next-generation circuits and data communication.

“And they’re solutions that are urgently needed,” Ray concludes.

Market Rundown for Monday, March 11, 2024

The S&P 500 is down 0.20% to 5,110. 

Oil is down 1% to $77.20 for a barrel of WTI. 

Gold is up 0.15% to $2,182.50 per ounce, according to Kitco. 

Bitcoin exceeded its record high this morning: the crypto’s currently up almost 4% to $71,775

Send your comments and questions to, feedback@newsyoucanacton.com

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