Computers today are over 100 million times faster than those from 30 years ago – which means they can accomplish tasks in seconds or minutes that would have taken hours or days before.
The number of transistors that fit into a microprocessor reached over 10 billion in 2017. Moore’s law states that every 18 months, computer processing speed doubles. This means that computers are becoming exponentially faster and more powerful.
The first transistor was built in 1947 by Bell Labs scientists William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for their invention of the transistor. In 2017 there were over 10 billion transistors on a microprocessor chip.
It’s not just the speed of computers that are increasing, but also their power and capacity. It’s doubling every 18 months too. That means in the last 30 years alone, we have seen a millionfold increase in computational power.
This exponential growth has been going on for decades and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. So what does this mean for us? Where is all this going?
For one thing, it means that our devices can do things that were once impossible or would have taken an impossibly long time to complete. We live in a truly remarkable era where we can do so much more with our devices than we could have imagined even ten years ago.
But more importantly, the power and speed of computers increased exponentially, improving the personal computer that we use, drastically. According to some scientists, if we keep growing at this speed, in 2020-2025, exascale supercomputers will be available to everyone at home.
This would make any task possible, which seems trivial when expected from today’s technology. We might be able to render high-resolution video games in real-time with photorealistic graphics all from our standard PCs at home.
We can conclude from all this that the average smartphone today has more power than NASA did when it sent people to the moon in 1969. That means computer technology IS advancing really fast and is growing exponentially.
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