[p2p-research] Ubiquitous cloud computing by 2019?

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Tue Nov 10 02:40:57 CET 2009

Ryan wrote:
> Futurism for higher ed...10 years on...
> Sent to you by Ryan via Google Reader: Ubiquitous cloud computing by
> 2019? - Dennis Carter, eCampus News George O. Strawn has seen
> higher-education technology grow exponentially since the via Online
> Learning Update by Ray on 11/9/09
> George O. Strawn has seen higher-education technology grow
> exponentially since the late 1960s, so a future campus that operates
> entirely on cloud computing where students have access to PCs that
> execute a trillion instructions per second does not seem far-fetched to
> him. In 10 years, Strawn said, he expects all scholarly material to be
> available on the internet--a departure from today, when copyright laws
> prohibit online access to the vast majority of scholarly journals.
> Publishers' blockades, he said, eventually will crumble under public
> pressure.

A link to the article:
   "Ubiquitous cloud computing by 2019?"

If undergrads can access enough computing power to simulate much of what a 
human brain does, what will they do for work after college? :-)
  "When will computer hardware match the human brain?"

Some futurism for higher ed, 20 years on, which I posted here: :-)
   "The Mindset of the Class of 2029 / Ignores the big picture on 
exponential computing"

Computers are increasing by a factor of about 1000X in performance per
price per decade. By the time any toddler of today is finishing
graduate school, computers will be about 1000X (for the first decade)
multiplied (not added) by 1000X (for the second decade) or about
a million times faster than they are now -- just like computers are
about a million times faster than twenty to thirty years ago (at
constant dollars, or so MIPS per $). Related links:
     http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0134.html?pr intable=1
(The rate of exponential growth itself is even increasing!)
According to that last link, those AI computers had about 1 MIPS
processing power. (And it's a funny idea Hans Moravec had, and I think
correct, that only for the last decade or so has AI been taking
advantage of faster desktop CPUs going beyond 1 MIPS..)

As an example, compare the late 1970s Apple II
with todays' (2007) eight core Mac Pro.

Then --> Now (approximate increase)

CPU: 1 Mhz --> 8 * 3 Ghz (8000X faster, but about another 100X internal
improvements from wider data operations and pipelining and such).
(somewhere in x100000 to x1000000)

RAM: 4K --> 4GB RAM just starting to be common. (x1000000)
Disk: 300K disks --> 300 gigabyte disks. (x1000000)
And all for about the same price (adjusted for inflation).
Some other considerations:

Bandwidth: 11 bytes/sec modem at $10 / hour --> 800000 bytes/second by
cable at $60 / month (about x10000 faster, well that doesn't quite fit,
but its still a big improvement -- and if you factor in the cost for
continuous access, there is probably another 10x or 100X boost in there,
producing effectively close to a x1000000 improvement of price/performance)

Printing: about 1000 characters per minute for $1200 printer -> 10 pages
per minute each with millions of color pixels -- with the printer often
now free with the computer (not sure how to call this as a multiple,
since quality has changed so much).

So, here are possible specs for a personal computer of 2027 if it was a
million times faster than today's:

CPU: 8 * 3 Ghz --> 8000 X 3 THz (1000X more CPUs each 1000X faster,
though I think it likely such systems might just instead have a million
processors at about today's speeds, perhaps interweaving memory and
processing power)

RAM: 4GB --> 4000TB (enough to hold all of the current surface internet
in RAM, see:
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabyte
for MB, GB, TB, PB, EB series and their meaning

DISK: 300GB --> 300PB (which is 300,000 TB)
For reference, a DVD movie uncompressed is about 5GB.
Note that, according to:
300 TB would allow you to record your entire life in video for 16hr/day
for 100 years at 500MB/hr. So you could do that for 1000 people on just
your own $3000 2027AD personal computer. Or you could just perhaps store
the interesting bits of life video for perhaps a hundred thousand people
or so. Needless to say, storing all of human music currently on CD would
be trivial and not even noticeably strain such a computer's capacity.
But there might be little point, as the system could possibly be able to
just improvise music to suit your mood if you asked it.

Bandwidth: 800KB/sec --> 800MB/sec (conservative, just x1000, from optical 
fiber to the home, but still enough to download a full length HD movie in a
few seconds)
   See: "Internet2 Land Speed Record -- 9.08 gigabits per second."

Printing: 10 pages per minute in 2D (free, but toner costs) --> 10 cubic
centimeters / minute in 3D (free with the computer, maybe the toner,
especially for precious metals like gold or platinum, still costs).
[Yes, I meant printing in *3D* as in:
http://www.zcorp.com/products/printersdetail-450.a sp?ID=1
"The ZPrinter 450 makes color 3D printing accessible to everyone. The
lowest priced color 3D printer available, the ZPrinter 450 outputs
brilliant color models with timesaving automation and an even easier
printing process. It is the ideal introduction to color 3D printing for
a wide variety of applications from product design, production
prototypes, and architectural concepts to education, healthcare, and the

Even if I were to be off by a factor of 100X, this would still be an
impressive computer, 10000X more powerful than what we have now. And in
another ten years by 2037 we would definitely see such a machine. And
then ten years beyond that, what will the performance be of desktop
computers when today's toddlers start having toddler's of their own?
Unimaginable at another 1000X performance. Desktop computers about as
powerful than all the computers in the world today put together?

Granted, growth rates may eventually slow down -- but people who study
this suggest exponential growth in performance/price will continue for
at least the next few decades.
[Heat dissipation and power consumption are likely the biggest hurdles.]

Another way these trends can be looked at is that today's wireless
networked desktop computer will be purchasable for less than a penny and
be somewhere in size between a postage stamp and a grain of sand (and
likely solar powered) in 2027.

What does that mean for privacy or for schooling itself when a kid can buy 
$10 worth of computing dust and sprinkle 1000 networked audio pickup nodes 


See also:
"Vernor Vinge's short story "Fast Times at Fairmont High" "

We are going to witness the collapse of all sorts of institutions from this. 
Ten years ago, who would have accepted predicting the collapse of the 
newspaper industry?

Just more fuel for the fire:
"School Daze" 

Our government policy on school and jobs is completely out of touch with our 
exponentially changing capacity.

I'm hoping, in trying to be optimistic, that these institutions will just 
fade away as p2p processes come to dominate the landscape, same as 
newspapers are doing now.

--Paul Fernhout

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