Blog // DIGITALIsation II

Facts 2

...This law is named after one of the founders of Intel, Gordon Moore. He had discovered that the power of computers increases more or less exponentially, an idea familiar to many people from their maths lessons:

- Put a grain of rice on the bottom left square of a chessboard and then double it to 2 on the next square and then double it again on the next square to 4, 8, 16, 32, ... etc.

The amount of data that computers can process today has increased exponentially just like this. Any one of us today has more processing power available in his smartphone than NASA had for the Apollo 11 moon landing on 21st July 1969.

To stay with the chessboard example, in 2016 we have arrived at square no. 62 of 64. By 2020 the optimal amount of data will probably have been reached and Moore's Law will have come to the end of its life. The capacity for processing data is gigantic, however. Mankind produces as much data in two days now as it did in the entire course of history up to 2003. This entire quantity of data doubles every two years, so the figure in 2020 will be 40,000 exabytes (40 million gigabytes).1

One exabyte has the storage capacity of 250 million DVDs. While you are reading this article, mankind is producing almost as much data as the amount currently stored in the US Library of Congress,1 one of the biggest libraries in the world.

The speed of a computer depends on its data storage capacity. When you think how long it took in 2005 to download a video and compare that with the computer's processing speed while watching TV on your computer nowadays, this is due to greater data processing power.

The question now arises: does the end of Moore's Law mean we have reached the upper limit for data storage by computers that mankind has invented?

Many of you will already have an idea. The answer is: NO! In Asia in particular, people are experimenting with so-called quantum computers. Quantum technology will probably make computers another million times faster. This technology is not yet profitable, but it has enormous economic potential. The latter will probably not become clear before the launch of a new generation of computers around 2030. Anyone with an idea of quantum mechanics will know about atoms, electrons, photons and other sub-atomic particles. According to brand eins2, these have the sort of powers that are usually described as miraculous: for instance, they can be in more than one place at the same time.

In order for quantum computer technology to work, however, the entire Internet will have to be reinvented. According to experts, this should not be a problem and would also have the advantage that data would be far more secure in the new Internet than in the present one.

So the development of faster, more powerful computers for the future is on its way.


1 Tim Lieberecht, Business Romantiker, 2015, p.36

2 Brand eins, 4/2016, Der Quantensprung, p.28

Geschwill, Roland & Nieswandt, Martina, Laterales Management, Das Erfolgsprinzip für Unternehmen im digitalen Zeitalter (The principle of success for entrepreneurs in the digital age), Springer 2016