September 29, 2014 | Written by: IBM Research Editorial Staff
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IBM scientist Ronald Luijten has many hobbies, from gliding over the Swiss alps at 4,000 meters, to taking photos with his quadrocopter, or tinkering with technology — particularly microservers, which he refers to as “data centers in a box.”
By day, Ronald is working on a 64-bit microserver for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an international consortium to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. He hopes that someday petabytes of Big Data from the Big Bang (13 billion years ago) will be crunched on the microserver, and uncover fundamental questions about the universe, including are we alone?
By night and on the weekends, Ronald has also built a microserver to host his website swissdutch.ch. The passionate environmentalist spent this past weekend “unplugging” his microserver from the electricity grid and and now powers it from solar panels backed-up with batteries.
“On September 27, 2014, I changed the energy source of the wandboard Quad to solar panels. I installed 40W of photo-voltaic panels feeding a lead acid battery of 18Ah (2x 9 Ah). The panels come in increments of 20W, and I did not think 20W was enough to make it through winter. Note that around this time of year (September), the sun is right between its minimum and maximum high point. So, I pointed the panels due south at an angle of 45 degrees,” Ronald said.
To keep track of Ronald’s progress visit his blog or follow him on Twitter @ronaldgadget