Towards Deploying Decommissioned Mobile Devices as Cheap Energy-Efficient Compute Nodes

The performance of mobile phone processors has been steadily increasing, causing the performance gap between server and mobile processors to narrow with mobile processors sporting superior performance per unit energy. Fueled by the slowing of Moore’s Law, the overall performance of single-chip mobile and server processors have likewise plateaued. These trends and the glut of used and partially broken smartphones which become environmental e-waste motivate creating cloud servers out of decommissioned mobile phones. This work proposes creating a compute dense server built out of used and partially broken smartphones (e.g. screen can be broken). This work evaluates the total cost of ownership (TCO) benefit of using servers based on decommissioned mobile devices and analyzes some of the architectural design trade-offs in creating such servers.

This work received a considerable publicity in the press. Here is a list of selected coverage on this work:
  • The Spark show on the Canadian Public Radio (CBC) ( link to interview )
  • The Morning Paper ( link )
  • Princeton University main page ( link )
  • Communications of the ACM ( link )
  • Hacker News ( link )
  • Princeton Alumni Weekly ( link )
  • Top of Mind show on the BYU Radio( link to interview )
It was also mentioned in the VLDB '17 keynote by Prof. Wolfgang Lehner.