All entries for Monday 18 December 2006

December 18, 2006

More Moore

Writing about web page

OK pedantic I know, but I realise I’ve failed to distinguish between two things – bits and bytes and binary prefixes and actual prefixes. These are all very much orders of magnitude here, so who really cares, but just to be accurate – my computer is 70GiB not 70Gib. My brain is 1Gb not 1GB (so that’s even more pathetic than I said in my last entry). Also the computers of the future should really be described with binary prefiixes not standard ones. Pebibytes and exbibytes, for example, but that just sounds daft. Not as bad as yobibytes though. Sounds like some new chav snack food.

Moore's law

Writing about web page

Just a thought …

Moore’s law is basically that available computing power doubles every 18 months. So if a typical computer from, say, late 2003 has 70 Gbytes, a typical one bought now would have 280 Gbytes. Man, I need to upgrade.

Extending this, it means that computing power goes up by a factor of 1000 every 15 years. So my first computer (30 years ago) would have only been of the order of a few kbytes. Sounds about right.

So my last computer, assuming I have a normal lifespan, (which will mean cutting down on the fatty foods, I guess) will have a capacity measured in petabytes, or even (if I do more exercise) exabytes! OMG.

Imagine what I could do with that!

At this point I was going to look up the memory capacity of the human brain and work out if this curve was going to exceed the memory capacity of the human brain within my lifetime. Shock horror – it’s already there. The memory capacity of my brain is less than that of my three-year-old PC (by a factor of about 100). That explains a lot.

What this does mean though is that by the end of the century we’ll have run out of prefixes. The 2080s will see the introduction of desktop PCs composed of yottabytes of memory. I don’t think there’s a prefix for 10-to-the-27. I suggest lotta, ‘cause 10-to-the-27 bytes is a lottabytes .

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