X-Message-Number: 18458
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 07:02:43 EST
Subject: Computing power

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Computing power

Here is a personal look at coming computing power. Today, the fastest 
processors have a clock running at 2 GHz and can process at most 300 millions 
operations on 32 bits. That is equivalent to 100 mega flops (floating point 
operation per second on 64 bits). We are in the multimedia era, the second 
one after the small business-word processor generation.

    The next one will be the virtual reality paradigm, but it needs a 
computing power in the 30 giga flops domain, 300 times beyond the current 
generation. If the Moore?s law holds with its predicted doubling power every 
18 months, then we must wait for 8 steps or 12 years before it can 
start..This put us somewhere near 2015, before that, the multimedia era will 
have overtaken TV with Div-X video programs down loaded from fast Internet. 
Relief TV will be the killing ?app? of the multimedia era, it is too soon to 
predict what we will see in the virtual world generation.

    Next, will be the intelligent machine, to build a good simulation of a 
neuron consume 10 000 flops, a bee with 800 000 neurons could be uploaded on 
a 8 G flops system, an end of era multimedia machine. To have the brain power 
of a man with 10 billions of neurons is another matter: The processing power 
soars to 100 tera flops or 3 000 times the virtual reality entry level. If we 
assume the Moore?s law continues to go on, then 12 generations are called 
upon to fulfill the bill. This is near 20 years or 2035. If a brain-computer 
interface can be built, then from here, a larger and larger part of the brain 
power could come from computing devices. The main effect would be to 
disconnect brain power and body size.The biological part of the ?brain? has 
not to be encased in a human specimen. Up to 5 000 species could have the 
brain power to run the technological civilization. The fastest reproducing 
would soon overtake all bigger, slower ones.

       Who will be the first on Mars? Who will return to the Moon? Who will 
be here when we get out of cryonics state?  In each case, a man seems a bad 

             Yvan Bozzonetti.


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