It also takes a technical wizard like
If MERDI's basement-bound data center is a rock for the business community, then Curtiss, technology director and founder of
"He's a hidden treasure here," said
"He quietly goes about doing amazing things and never takes credit for it," she added. "He has one creative idea after another."
When Curtiss founded Siafu in 2010, he named the company after a unique, biodiverse African ant with varied specialists, like his team of five software, mechanical and technical engineers.
"They are also the most communicative of the ants, so we kind of thought that would be good for us because we do so much," said Curtiss, who hails from
He came to
"It was a pretty cool project," said Curtiss.
Eventually, Infomine moved to
"It wasn't really a data center," said Curtis. "It was more of a machine room really for MSE computers and network. They had a couple of carriers in there."
When he started Siafu in 2010, earlier talks about bringing in a fiber optic network beyond the physical walls of the data center took shape. Curtiss aligned with Superintendent
Like a siafu ant, Curtiss is industrious: He is instrumental in hooking up the following businesses to the fiber optic network that originates in the
"We take on high-risk advanced companies and high-risk technology products," said Curtiss. "Projects that are less traditional."
"We're the back-end people, the nuts-and-bolts, down-in-the-data-center people," said Curtiss.
But his technical knowledge spans many different disciplines.
Like his co-workers, Curtiss is accomplished: he has a doctorate in computer science and an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
During rare down time, Curtiss contemplates pet projects he's itching to complete:
One is an amateur telescope array. Since
"The smaller telescopes are unbelievably powerful," said Curtiss. "I'm really, really interested in doing this. That's a huge project. We've got everyone on staff who can help us create that."
He's working with the Montana Tech computer science department on a research gig for the telescope idea.
The other project he's clamoring to do?
Build a small-scale thorium reactor as a practical alternative to large nuclear reactors. It would be catalyzed by salt and locally mined molybdenum to better control the volatile fission process.
The largest sources of thorium are found on the
"We want to scale that technology down to a much smaller version and use it to power a data center or a mine," said Curtiss, "or take it to sub-Saharan Africa where there is no power infrastructure and to provide power."
He spends much time applying for grants for funding, but Curtiss is more than an expert techie.
Contact Renata.Birkenbuel@mtstandard.com or 406-496-5512.
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