The footprint of those is surely going to become an issue going forward, that's explains marquee pre-emptive actions to link them to renewables.
The question is whether intrinsically (and ceteris paribus) #decentralization consumes less (because traffic remains more localized)
@jaredmoody @email@example.com its an optimisation problem of sorts and to solve properly one must indeed figure all the important elements. Losses in idling infrastructure would be definitely adding on the penalty side of extreme decentralization. On the other hand the gains would probably be quick to recover if one had, say, neighborhood shared clusters pooling compute for ~100 or so.
Another interesting angle is whether cooling is more efficient with less aggregation
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