Weekly Takeaways-October 18, 2021
Updated: 5 days ago
The government... for now. The time you see on your phone is synchronized to a clock at the US Naval Observatory, delivered via GPS satellites through your local cell network. The US Government has been the reluctant supplier of time to the world since the digital era began. But can it (or should it) be privatized? Ask William Shatner. At 90 years old, Capt. Kirk wasn't likely to qualify for the NASA astronaut program. But fortunately for him, private industry has taken over roles once thought the exclusive domain of governments: space travel, earth observation, space surveillance, lunar exploration, and even missions to Mars have been democratized in the New Space era. Not only are they making warp-speed (pun intended!) advancements in these once-stagnant areas, but they are making money in the process. It is time for time to have a new owner.
The Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation (RNTF) just released a White Paper exhorting the US government to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) "to procure foundational precise timing services which can support a wide variety of public and private applications across the nation" as part of a National Resilient Timing Architecture.
Also pushing for this critical need is the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), which sent letters to US Congressional leaders stating “the urgent need for funding the deployment and adoption of Alternative Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Systems in U.S. critical infrastructure, including the U.S. telecom industry.”
What is the value of time synchronization for a large data center? Ask Facebook, Google, and NVIDIA. They recently described the challenges and opportunities they are facing to improve time synchronization for distributed databases. The panel discussed how critical time synchronization is for data integrity, coherence, and efficiency within data centers.