Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds The Data Explosion has been fueled by a few key developments that have occurred over the past several decades. The first that we’re going to talk about is another type of explosion. It’s the computing power explosion, where we’ve gone from computers that took the size of rooms in order to process big amounts of data, to these supercomputers that we all hold in our pockets. And I’m going to start with this review of the Data Explosion with a bit of a walk down memory lane, if you will. I’m going to start with two men who were central to this computing power explosion, that maybe are a bit less well-known than the Jobs and Wozniaks and Gates of the world.
Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds Shown here is Gordon Moore on the left, and Robert Noyce on the right, who were the co-founders of Intel Corporation. And they’re shown here outside of their offices in 1970. Intel has been at the centre of this computing power explosion from the very beginning. Many of you might know Intel from the marketing campaign of Intel Inside. They build the computer chips that drive the processing of many of the computers we all use. So they were central to this exponential growth we’ve seen in computing power. So they were driving the power of the IBM machines, and ultimately, even the Apples, those Intel chips.
Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds So number one, when you talk about computing power and the explosion in computing power, it’s hard not to talk about Intel. But the second reason I show you these two is that Gordon Moore, the guy on the left, is famous not only for being the co-founder of Intel, which is impressive enough; he’s actually maybe even more famous for an observation that he made in the early days of Intel. And that observation has become known as Moore’s Law.
Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds And what that observation was that the processors that they were putting on these chips – he saw that every year, the number of processors you could fit into a square inch was doubling, and that that had been true since the invention of those chips. And he believed that that trend was likely to continue for the foreseeable future. And that prophetic statement is what’s become known as Moore’s Law. As you can see in this graphic, Moore’s Law has largely held true to this day.
Skip to 2 minutes and 12 seconds And just to orient you to what’s going on here, the dots on this graph represent major advancements in computing power, so the rollout of the Pentium chip or the Pentium II chip, or the emergence of the IBM PC, things like that. And the y-axis scale, just so you know, is in logarithmic scale, so it’s 10 to the first, 10 to the second – it’s increasing by orders of magnitude. So the fact that there is a linear trend up in computing power on a logarithmic scale actually means that you’re seeing exponential growth in computing power, which is what Moore foretold, and what Moore’s Law guessed would happen. And that’s actually what has happened.
Skip to 2 minutes and 51 seconds The other thing you can see on this graph is we are right at the point where we have the computing power of a mouse’s brain. But more interesting than that is we’re only a couple of years away from the computing power of the human brain, which is admittedly a little creepy, and a conversation for a different course, I think. Just to put some of this into perspective – the computing power that we have today, the computing power that we have in these little mini supercomputers that we hold in our pocket; looking at those mini supercomputers, I think, is a good way to do this.
Skip to 3 minutes and 20 seconds Harkening back to some of the most important computers out there, this graphic here is of the navigation computer for the Apollo 11 moon landing. This computer that this woman is working at helped navigate Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. You can see the board she’s working on is actually roped board. These little machines that we have are the computing power equivalent of 120 million of those machines. This next image is a 1980s Cray supercomputer. This was the absolute cutting edge of computing power in the ’80s, which is not that long ago. The iPhone 6, just to put it in perspective, is the computing power equivalent of 300 of these Cray supercomputers.
Skip to 4 minutes and 2 seconds And it really is this massive increase in computing power, right – remember that Moore’s Law graph, that exponential growth – that has been a key reason why data has exploded. We now have the ability to actually create, and more importantly, process this data in ways that we just didn’t before. The next thing I want to talk about in terms of what’s driving this Data Explosion happened a little behind the computing power explosion, and maybe quite frankly, driven by the computing power explosion. And that is our move into an increasingly digital world.
Skip to 4 minutes and 39 seconds Digital things have been around for a long time, but really, the thing I’m talking about here, I think, started, let’s call it in the early ’90s, with the emergence of the world wide web. And the picture you see here is a graphic of the very first website. And this still exists today, and you can go look at it. And here more specifically is what it would have looked like in the early ’90s when it was launched. And it was built and launched by a European nuclear research organisation called CERN. And this first website was about a project they were working on called the W3 project, the World Wide Web project.
Skip to 5 minutes and 14 seconds And they had been working on this crazy concept called the world wide web as a way for researchers and educators and people working in the field to share information, to share research easily, no matter where they were. And this concept or idea has taken root. Even if W3 didn’t catch on in our lexicon, clearly the web did. And as you can see in this graphic, yet another exponential curve. The growth in websites over time, from that very first one in the early ’90s has been pretty staggering. Just to put in perspective, here’s when that first website launched. And very quickly after that, we started to see the emergence of search engines.
Skip to 5 minutes and 55 seconds The first one was a search engine called Archie, that maybe not a lot of people have heard of. And that was followed by a few, Yahoo being one of them, maybe the only one that’s kind of still around, and then the emergence of the dominant Google. And that was still very early on. You can barely see a bar there. But then as we started to climb, this is when things really started to get going. We saw the emergence of social networks. And now, we’ve moved into an era where a lot of what we do, we do online. And all of this stuff creates data. And it creates lots of data.
Skip to 6 minutes and 32 seconds Just by definition, these digital platforms are based on 0s and 1s. They throw off tonnes of data, and all of this data gets kept and stored. So you combine this computing power explosion with our move towards this data-based digital world, and you’re seeing just reams of data thrown off every day. That 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day, this is where it’s coming from. The final thing I’ll show, then bang home is – researchers in a – there’s a publication called DOMO that actually puts out once a year what happens in an internet minute, which I always find fascinating – the amount of things that happen in one minute on the internet this year. Seven million Snapchat videos are watched.
Skip to 7 minutes and 17 seconds 3.5 million texts are sent in the US alone. On YouTube, 400 new hours of video content are uploaded every minute. Tinder users swipe a million times. You can go on and on and on. It’s pretty staggering the amount of data that gets created in this digital universe. And you put those two things together, and those really are – if you think about this explosion, this is the kindling or the firewood that has really ignited this explosion.
The computing power explosion and the digital transformation
The statistics related to the Data Explosion are staggering. In Step 1.3, we discussed how the global population is now producing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day! But what is driving this Data Explosion?
In this video, we will consider the concept of ‘Moore’s Law’ and describe a number of technological developments which have enabled us to create our increasingly digital world.
© Kogod School of Business, American University