Tuesday, October 24, 2006
SEARCH: the Now and the Future
I received a personal email reply from Goodsearch upon signing up, thanking me for blogging about Goodsearch. Granted it could have been mass-generated by simply inserting my name as a field entry, it still feels good as I don’t take much to feel appreciated. So that’s one up for the little guys in this age where size matters.
As my wife was shopping in a local WalGreen store, I caught up on my reading by planting myself at the Magazine/Book section. After surveying the many titles on display, I picked up the Oct 2006 issue of the WIRED magazine. As usual, I first scanned the Contents page for interesting articles and one caught my attention: The Information Factories. I could have finished the article there and then if not for the fact that it was check-out time on my wife’s cue. Time must have flown by faster than I have imagined, lost in the myriad images that the article conjures up (Moore’s Law, Bell’s Law, Grosch’s Law) and marveled at the scale that the future holds for computing (tera-scale to peta- and exa-scale, the last being with 18 trailing zeroes).
I recall a talk That I attended in 2003 in Malaysia delivered by Dr. Ahamd H. Zewail, Nobel laureate in Chemistry for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy. Now, a femtosecond is 15 trailing zeroes after the decimal point of a second. Remember the days when a billion seems astronomical (world population is just over 6 billions) and angstrom units and nano-seconds are really minute. So practically overnight we have doubled the order of magnitude of spread.
However, I felt a bit let down for not being able to finish reading the article. Buying it did cross my mind but I decided against it as it is not one of the regular magazines that I read. Then back home when I was surfing, I decided to do a search for the magazine and the article. Imagine my delight when I found that the online version is available (read here). Such a magnanimous act.
If you're fascinated by the impending dawn of the petabyte age where teleputers would outpace the current crops of mobile gadgets to oblivion, and would like to have a glimpse of what "cloudware" portends for netizens, the article would be a good read. Hope you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was.