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June 26th 06, 04:13 PM
I read an article that says if progress keeps continuing at the current
rate, we'll have consumer level ($2000) computers running at 100
million mips (100 trillion instructions per second) by the year 2030.
That's the same processing power as the human brain. He said that'll
make possible human level intelligence in computers. In the human
brain, each neuron only does 1,000 cycles per second, but the brain is
massively parrallel processing. It has 100 billion or more neurons,
each with connections to 1,000 to 10,000 other neurons. Also, a million
new connections are formed every second. The brain holds 100 million
megabytes = 100 terrabytes of data. The brain uses 20% of the energy
(calories) in the body and generates a lot of heat (just like the
current PC's haha) which has to be removed by the body. That's some
kickass ****.

We may be running into limits with current chip technology, but new
technology will be used to continue the rapid progress. Here's a quote
from the article. I thought you guys might want to get a peek at
computers of the future.

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Wilder possibilities are brewing. Switches and memory cells made of
single molecules have been demonstrated, which might enable a volume to
hold a billion times more circuitry than today. Potentially blowing
everything else away are "quantum computers," in which a whole
computer, not just individual signals, acts in a wavelike manner. Like
a conventional computer, a quantum computer consists of a number of
memory cells whose contents are modified in a sequence of logical
transformations. Unlike a conventional computer, whose memory cells are
either 1 or 0, each cell in a quantum computer is started in a quantum
superposition of both 1 and 0. The whole machine is a superposition of
all possible combinations of memory states. As the computation
proceeds, each component of the superposition individually undergoes
the logic operations. It is as if an exponential number of computers,
each starting with a different pattern in memory, were working on the
problem simultaneously. When the computation is finished, the memory
cells are examined, and an answer emerges from the wavelike
interference of all the possibilities. The trick is to devise the
computation so that the desired answers reinforce, while the others
cancel. In the last several years, quantum algorithms have been devised
that factor numbers and search for encryption keys much faster than any
classical computer. Toy quantum computers, with three or four "qubits"
stored as states of single atoms or photons, have been demonstrated,
but they can do only short computations before their delicate
superpositions are scrambled by outside interactions. More promising
are computers using nuclear magnetic resonance, as in hospital
scanners. There, quantum bits are encoded as the spins of atomic
nuclei, and gently nudged by external magnetic and radio fields into
magnetic interactions with neighboring nuclei. The heavy nuclei,
swaddled in diffuse orbiting electron clouds, can maintain their
quantum coherence for hours or longer. A quantum computer with a
thousand or more qubits could tackle problems astronomically beyond the
reach of any conceivable classical computer.