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My son asks, what will computers be like in 2033?

3 May 2008 (updated 21 September 2014)

My son asks, what will computers be like in 2033?

My oldest son recently won the science fair with his project on Moore’s Law and accelerating technological change. He and I spent a lot of time collecting price and performance information about historic computers, discussing how we can try to predict the future based on projections of historic trends, and talking about differences between linear and exponential trends and their appearances in graphs. I enjoyed watching him present everything he learned to his class. Take a look!

Question: What will computers be like in the year 2033, when I’m 35 years old?

Hypothesis: From experience and research, I think they’ll become more powerful.

Experience: My old computer is slow, but my new computer is fast!

Research: I used the Internet to find the power of old computers.

Computer Name (Processor Name)YearSpeed (IPS)PriceAdjusted PriceSpeed (IPS) / $1,000
Busicom 141-PF (Intel 4004) 1972 60,000 $500 $2,600 23,077
R2E Micral (Intel 8008) 1973 60,000 $1,700 $8,300 7,229
SCELBI-8H (Intel 8008) 1974 60,000 $1,000 $4,600 13,043
Altair 8800 (Intel 8080) 1975 640,000 $700 $2,900 220,690
Apple I (MOS Technology 6502) 1976 430,000 $500 $1,900 226,316
Commodore PET 2001 (MOS Technology 6502) 1977 430,000 $600 $2,100 204,762
Tandy TRS-80 (Zilog Z80) 1978 580,000 $600 $2,000 290,000
Tandy TRS-80 (Motorola 68000) 1979 1,000,000 $1,000 $3,100 322,581
Tandy TRS-80 (Motorola 68000) 1980 1,000,000 $700 $2,000 500,000
IBM PC (Intel 8088) 1981 330,000 $1,565 $3,900 84,615
IBM PC (Intel 8088) 1982 330,000 $1,265 $2,800 117,857
IBM PC jr (Intel 8088) 1983 330,000 $700 $1,500 220,000
IBM PC AT (Intel 286) 1984 2,700,000 $6,000 $12,300 219,512
Compaq DeskPro 286 (Intel 286) 1985 2,700,000 $4,500 $8,900 303,371
Compaq Deskpro 386 (Intel 386) 1986 6,000,000 $5,000 $9,500 631,579
Compaq Deskpro 386 (Intel 386) 1987 7,000,000 $6,500 $12,100 578,512
Compaq Deskpro 386 (Intel 386DX) 1988 8,500,000 $10,300 $18,600 456,989
Compaq Deskpro 386 (Intel 386DX) 1989 8,500,000 $8,000 $13,900 611,511
Compaq Deskpro 486 (Intel 486) 1990 20,000,000 $14,000 $24,200 826,446
Compaq Deskpro 486 (Intel 486) 1991 20,000,000 $3,200 $5,000 4,000,000
Dell Dimension 486DX (Intel 486DX) 1992 54,000,000 $2,100 $3,200 16,875,000
Compaq Deskpro Pentium (Intel Pentium) 1993 100,000,000 $3,200 $4,700 21,276,596
Apple Power Macintosh 6100 (PowerPC 601) 1994 35,000,000 $1,800 $2,500 14,000,000
Acorn Network Computer (ARM 7500FE) 1995 35,900,000 $400 $500 71,800,000
Dell OptiPlex GX Pro (Intel Pentium Pro) 1996 541,000,000 $2,500 $3,400 159,117,647
Apple Macintosh G3 (PowerPC G3) 1997 525,000,000 $2,000 $2,600 201,923,077
Micron Millenia 450 (Intel Pentium II) 1998 855,000,000 $1,900 $2,400 356,250,000
Dell OptiPlex GX 110 (Intel Pentium III) 1999 1,354,000,000 $1,200 $1,500 902,666,667
Gateway Select 1200 (AMD Athlon) 2000 3,561,000,000 $2,500 $3,100 1,148,709,677
HP Workstation i2000 (Intel Itanium) 2001 6,000,000,000 $7,000 $8,300 722,891,566
HP Pavilion 752n (AMD Athlon XP 2400+) 2002 5,935,000,000 $1,200 $1,400 4,239,285,714
Gateway 700GX (Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition) 2003 9,726,000,000 $3,300 $3,800 2,559,473,684
Dell Inspiron 500m (Intel Pentium M) 2004 1,959,000,000 $1,200 $1,300 1,506,923,077
Dell XPS 260 (Intel Pentium 4) 2005 18,000,000,000 $1,800 $2,000 9,000,000,000
Dell XPS 410 (Intel Core 2 X6800) 2006 27,079,000,000 $2,500 $2,600 10,415,000,000
Dell Precision T7400 (Intel Quad Core Xeon) 2007 37,000,000,000 $1,600 $1,600 23,125,000,000

Results: The power of computers is increasing exponentially.

Conclusion: In 2033, computers may be as powerful as human brains.

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