OCP Hardware Hack!

OCP is hosting its first hardware hackathon at the upcoming Open Compute Summit, January 16-17, 2013 in Santa Clara, California. Starting today, you can register for the hack. We are limiting attendance to 100 people. Registering for the hack also registers you for the entire OCP summit, so you can register for both events at once. The summit and the hack are both being held at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

We ask that once you register for the hack, you participate in the entire hack, which will last 6-10 hours over the course of the two day summit.

Participating engineers will use the Upverter platform, 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 summit's plenary session on January 17th. Once you register we will start working with you on ideation, provide reference material on hardware design and circulate information on Upverter tools.

Goals, Tools and an Example

Goal: Design a set of "Lego" blocks that can be applied to the scale compute data center space with a focus on improving energy efficiency, operational efficiency and cost reduction.

Design tools:

  • ECAD, electrical and holistic collaboration: Upverter

  • Software collaboration: GitHub

  • Mechanical collaboration: GrabCAD

Skill set: electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, software engineer, 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 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, and other equipment 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 after the summit.

Example hack project: Use low-power sensors for temperature information across a data center. Use the Zigbee wireless protocol and aggregate the heat data across the data center. This has the benefit of not requiring any additional wiring or interfaces.

Pre-Hackathon Ideation

  • Power: Modules for generating different voltages, high performance, microcontroller controlled, sensor integrated, and so forth.

  • Comms: IR through wi-fi, through cellular. We can make huge advancements in drop-in communication modules.

  • Brains: Microcontrollers, development boards and more.

  • Storage: Flash, cold and the like.

  • Sensors: Power, light, heat, airflow and so forth.

  • Combos: Take a sensor, comm, and a brain and you're already fundamentally changing the way data centers operate

Looking forward to hacking with you all!