Don't Like My Neoliberal Party Card? I Have Others!

The answer is: probably in the late 1960s: Joe McMahon: When was the last time all the computing power in the world equaled one iPhone?: "When was the last time all the computing power in the world equaled one iPhone?...

...The iPhone 5's A6 processor is a dual-core, triple-GPU device. The first multiprocessor computer was the Burroughs D825 (defense-only, of course-http://BRL64-0052.jpg), with 1 to 4 processors, running at ~ .070 s / 1 1operation = ~14 FLOPS for divide,  the slowest operation, 166 FLOPS for add, the fastest, and ~25 FLOPS for multiply. Let's assume adds are 10x more frequent than multiply and divide to come up with an average speed of 35 FLOPS per processor, so 70 FLOPS for a 2-processor D825, handwaving CPU synchronization, etc.... To meet the worst performance of the iPhone 5 chip with the most optimistic estimate of the Burroughs D825's performance, you'd need 4.6 million of them. I can state confidently that there were not that many Burroughs B362s available in 1962.... in 1960, there were in total about 6000 computers....

Let's move forward. The CDC 7600, in 1969, averaged 10 MFLOPS (with hand-compiled code, and could peak at 35 MFLOPS). Let's go with the 10 MFLOPS-to equal a single iPhone 5, you'd need 32 of them. Putting aside the once-a-day (and sometimes 4-5x a day) breakdowns, we're in the realm of possibility that the CDCs in existence alone at that time could equal or beat an iPhone 5, assuming they were actually running, so the likelihood is that all computing in the world probably easily equalled or surpassed an iPhone at that point in straight compute ability. So... we can narrow it down to somewhere in the seven-ish years between 1962 and 1969, closer to the end than the start. (As a note, the Cray-1 didn't make the scene till 1975, with a performance of 80 MFLOPS, a quarter of an iPhone; in 1982, the Cray X-MP hit 800 MFLOPS, or 2.5 iPhones.) And we haven't talked about the GPUs, which are massively parallel processors the likes of which were uncommon until the 1980's....

Definitely before Laugh-In (1968), definitely after the miniskirt (1964)...


Processing Power Compared: "We may (sadly) live in a world devoid of flying cars and personal teleportation devices, but that doesn't mean technology isn't moving forward at an incredible pace..."


Global computing capacity: "Computing capacity worldwide was probably around 2 x 10^20 – 1.5 x 10^21 FLOPS, at around the end of 2015...

...We are not aware of recent, plausible estimates for hardware capacity. Vipul Naik estimated global hardware capacity in February 2014, based on Hilbert & Lopez’s estimates for 1986-2007.... One way to estimate global hardware capacity ourselves is based on annual hardware spending.... It appears that very roughly $300bn-$1,500bn was spent on hardware in 2015. We previously estimated that the cheapest available hardware (in April 2015) was around $3/GFLOPS. So if humanity spent $300bn-$1,500bn on hardware in 2015, and it was mostly the cheapest hardware, then the hardware we bought should perform around 10^20 – 5 x 10^20 FLOPS. If we multiply this by three to account for the previous two years’ hardware purchases still being around, we have about  3 x 10^20 – 1.5 x 10^21 FLOPS. This estimate is rough....

According to different estimates, the human brain performs the equivalent of between 3 x 10^13 and 10^25 FLOPS. The median estimate we know of is 10^18 FLOPS.... If the world’s entire computing capacity could be directed at running minds around as efficient as those of humans, we would have the equivalent of 200-1500 extra human minds... increase the world’s population of minds by at most about 0.00002%...


#shouldread

Comments