December 18, 2006

Moore's law

Writing about web page http://www.merkle.com/humanMemory.html

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 .


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Hi Mark

    while reading the link I just thought about something I read before and it is about links actually.

    What makes human brain of more use is the links between neurons (hope I spelled it right). The more links we have the more effective we can be.

    I am not sure that having a lof of storage (I mean brain capacity) would be more important or even as important as the links that we physically produced in our brains and finally articulate or are used to produce something of benefit.

    Maybe I got lost in what you were trying to put across. Anyway, it is nice to see you actively in the cyberspace.

    19 Dec 2006, 17:52

  2. Well really you’re right. The page in the link makes a similar comment – there’s something in the way those neurons manage to process everything that means that our brains are still better than PCs, even with a smaller memory capacity. Our bandwidth is so small (about 5bps if memory serves) that a bigger memory capacity wouldn’t be of value anyway. I think the point I was making was just less intelligent than you might have been anticipating, which was just woah – look at how big this number is, compared to how little this other number is.

    20 Dec 2006, 13:54


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