The Law of Accelerating Returns for computing cycles

1943 – One ENIAC was ~300 Operations per Second (Ops)

2003 – no smartphones, no cloud, 500M PCs x 1Gops x 10% usage = 50*10E15 + BigIron

2013 – Cloud (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) computing cycles is ~200 petaflops {guess}
The sum of the Top500 supercomputers is >100petaflops
1B smartphone/pads x 1GOps x 25% activity = 250 PetaOps
PC sales have declined but still contribute >50*10E15
Assume Big Iron is constant (very conservative) [Note 1]
Total ~ 10**18 Ops

Ignoring the difference in FlOps and Ops.
In 70 years, Ops have increased by ~17 orders of magnitude, or about 2X Moore’s Law [Note 2]
In 10 years, Ops have increased by 200X, or about 2X Moore’s Law.

With (very fuzzy) activity assumptions, it’s not obvious that total computing is accelerating beyond Moore’s Law.

But total computing capacity appears to be accelerating.

[Note 1] IBM has 90% of the Big Iron market, sells ~4000 mainframes/year x 1GOps x 10 years of active installations = 4×10**13, so we can discount the impact since they’ve only gotten faster.

[Note 2] Moore’s Law is a metric of semiconductor performance which doubles every ~18 months.

See The Law of Accelerating Returns

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