Is that a supercomputer in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

While listening to a podcast about the Simulation Hypothesis Argument, I ran across an interesting set of numbers.

To start, by way of comparison, the human brain can process anywhere from 38 thousand trillion (3.8 x 10^16) to one billion billion (1 X 10^18) processes per second, depending upon whom you ask. Those are pretty big numbers:

38,000,000,000,000,000

1,000,000,000,000,000,000

Per second. It’s breathtaking, and truly amazing.

By contrast, in 1985 the Cray 2 supercomputer came online at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. If you took a small automobile and stood it up on its end, you’d get a general idea of the size of this supercomputer. Certainly not the room-spanning computers of the 1950’s and 1960’s, but not a small machine, either.

This state-of-the-art supercomputer could run 200,000,000 processes per second, and it was replaced within three years by the Cray Y-MP.

That’s 200 million. Not human brain-type processing, but pretty spectacular, nonetheless.

Just over thirty years later, Apple Computer released a supercomputer that could run 600,000,000,000 – that’s 600 billion, with a ‘b’ – processes per second. That’s a processing increase of 3,000%.

30 years. 3,000%. Astounding.

And the name of the supercomputer Apple released, this computational powerhouse that out-processed a thirty-year-old supercomputer by a factor of 3,000? You may have one in your pocket – you certainly own something similar, if not the precise model itself.

Apple called it the iPhone X.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s