So at work we discussed Data Center Design at scale, and then things got out of hand. We ended up discussing Computronium, a hypothetical stuff that basically is a piece of thinking matter, performing computation, the ultimate composable piece of hardware.
Computronium is a problem, though. You can’t just cover the planet in a crunchy Computronium crust – not only because the Hotels have to go somewhere. But also, because whatever thickness of Computronium you propose, it has to be powered somehow.
Ultimately, it has to be powered by the amount of energy hitting us from the sun. So there is likely a Dyson sphere behind the earth or elsewhere, collecting even more energy from the sun and sending it into the Computronium.
Also, waste heat – you need even more entropy differential to get rid of the energy you beam into the Computronium after the computation has turned into waste heat. Convection cooling does not work in space, so radiators into background radiation are a necessity.
I bet a Computronium optimised planet does not look very much like a planet any more, and a lot more like the International Space Station. Which is cool, but probably not a good holiday destination for all people.
So how about we build our Data Centers on Mars, keeping the Earth a Risa-like resort planet? But then, Bandwidth Delay Product is a bitch, and Light Is Really Slow. Nobody really wants to wait 30 Minutes for an Ack of their Booking from Mars. Planetary Scale computing is really hard.
Riding Light is a video that shows how slow light really is, or rather, how big space is:
You can think of Suns with life carrying planets as hydrothermal vents, and Space inbetween as a vast, lifeless, energy poor void that is best crossed by not-existing for the duration of travel. David Brin had it right, in Existence.