[SIGCIS-Members] The Best Historical Comparisons

Evan Koblentz evank at njit.edu
Thu Dec 16 09:06:08 PST 2021

>>> " There used to be a standard illustration of the effects of Moore's Law, along the lines of "if mechanical engineering had progressed at the same rate a Rolls Royce would do 250K mph, 1M miles to the gallon, cost 2p and be a quarter of an inch long (these aren't the actual figures but you get the idea).

The second half of that infamous comparison goes, "But the car would crash twice and day and ask 'Are you sure?' before the airbags deploy."

I like to compare historic computing measurements in terms that modern users can understand, especially young people. I wrote an article in 2019 for our university website, about the first computer we had here in 1962. It was an IBM 1620. With some technical assistance from CHM docent Carl Claunch, I did the math and explained to our college-aged readership: "For comparison, 8 kilobytes is 131 thousandths of a gigabyte, or two-tenths of a second of the CeeLo Green song 'Forget You'."

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