When I first pulled my iPad out of its box and held it, I said, “This little thing has more computing power than most spacecraft.” Pretty sure that’s true; most spacecraft are pretty old and it takes a long, long time to get a chip certified for space. Still, It’d be fun to have some facts. There’s no single metric to compare computers, but I’d still be interested in a chart of computer power through the ages. How does my iPad compare to an IBM 360, a classic mainframe (it’s no contest, really, but how many times faster is the iPad)? How far to go yet before my phone threatens Cray’s numbers?
Somewhere out there, some geek/historian must be compiling this kind of info. I searched a little bit but it was all about fastest on the planet. Consumer devices (other than game boxes which are only compared to other game boxes) need not apply. But those guys are missing the true revolution: that our phones and cars and DVD players are wicked-fast computers. Supercomputers are being measured in petaflops these days. Big Whoop. I’ve got a phone that can understand my words.