[SATLUG] question of the measurement of processing power past and present

Todd W. Bucy toddwbucy at grandecom.net
Tue Aug 12 10:46:48 CDT 2008

On Tue, 2008-08-12 at 10:32 -0500, Todd W. Bucy wrote:
> I am still hacking away at this paper.  The paper looks at F/OSS in
> terms of a gift economy.  One of the trueism that has always been noted
> about gift economies is that they occur in environments which are
> relatively wealthy and where competition for resources is not as high;
> the potlatch of the Kwakutial is often cited as such an example.  I am
> making the basic argument that this need not be the case and am offering
> the birth of hackers and the F/OSS community as such an example.  If we
> consider that the production environemnt for computer software was
> severly constricted in terms of resources (computing power) forced an
> environment not dictated by competition for resources (as the tragedy of
> the commons would predict) but was driven by cooperation in terms of
> time sharing protocols. 
> what I need to know is it fair, in terms of raw processing power, to
> compare a measurement of 0.06 kips of the IBM 650 in 1954 to the
> petraFLOPS generated by the IBM Roadrunner of today (or for that matter
> the giga flops generated by the the intell q6600).  Obviously the newer
> processors (and super computers) of today are much faster then they were
> in the 50's and 60's.  I guess what I am looking for is something that
> illustrates the dramatic increase of computing power over the last 50 or
> so years.
I am also concered with my change in unit of measure, from mips to flops
> second question
> is it generally true that the ability to code software (at a theoretical
> level at least) has always outstripped the ability of the hardware to
> process such software?  In other words software developers in general
> have the ability to write code which demands more from the hardware
> hardware (in terms of resources/computing power) then what the hardware
> is capable of doing?
> thanks for any help
> Todd

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