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The power of the Apollo missions in a single Google search

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Sam I Am, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    By way of Udi Manber and Peter Norvig of Google.

    Good stuff.

    =========================================

    The two of us are old enough to remember the thrill of seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in the summer of 1969. Many things have changed since then, and incredible progress has been made in some areas. As we reflect back on our own experience, and try to match today's world to 1969, we decided to compare the amount of computation available to NASA engineers then versus what's available now.

    The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) on board the lunar module (LM) executed instructions at a speed of about 40 KHz (or 0.00004 GHz), about 100,000 times slower than a high-end laptop today. There was also a similar real-time computer built into the Saturn V rocket. On the ground, NASA had access to some of the most powerful computers of the day: five IBM model 360/75 mainframe computers, each about 250 times faster than the AGC. They were running nearly 24/7, calculating lift-off data and orbits, monitoring biomedical data during the mission, and performing numerous other calculations.

    We compared that to what Google does today, and we found that:

    It takes about the same amount of computing to answer one Google Search query as all the computing done -- in flight and on the ground -- for the entire Apollo program!

    When you enter a single query in the Google search box, or just speak it to your phone, you set in motion as much computing as it took to send Neil Armstrong and eleven other astronauts to the moon. Not just the actual flights, but all the computing done throughout the planning and execution of the 11-year, 17 mission Apollo program. That’s how much computing has advanced. It is easy to take this for granted, but this computing power helps make the world a better place and opens the door for amazing things to come.
  2. SaltwaterServr

    SaltwaterServr Blank Paper Offends Me

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    Freaking awesome.
  3. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    It just keeps getting better. Think about 5, 10, 20 years from now. We'll laugh at the 'power' of our smart phones and tablets.
  4. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    That's hard for me to compute.
  5. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    Maybe if you're using Apollo technology. :)
  6. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    If you have a smartphone, you have more computing power in it than the mainstream computers of less than a decade ago.

    Cool perspective on the Apollo mission.

    I used to work with a physcist who was part of the lunar lander team for the Moon landing. He had some great NASA stories.
  7. WV Cowboy

    WV Cowboy Waitin' on the 6th

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    Does this even make sense? Let alone seem possible?
  8. ethiostar

    ethiostar Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty incredible. Hard to believe, really.
  9. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    Yes, it makes complete sense. In order to bring you relevant results, google has to index millions of pages out there on the internet, then cross reference that information and crawl through terrabytes of information to bring you the info you're looking for. If that seems simple and not very compute intensive, have a look at this: http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html
  10. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    The Intel 4004 processor (1972, after to the first Apollo mission) could process 92,000 instructions per second. The Intel i7 Extreme 3960X (2011) can process 177,370,000,000 instructions per second. That is 92k instructions per second vs 177 billion 370 million instructions per second.

    Just to be clear. That is 1,931,847 times faster or almost two million times faster. Basically, it would take the Intel 4004 processor over 22 days of computing 24 hours a day to do what the Intel i7 Extreme 3960X can do in a single second of processing.

    So, yes. It isn't only possible. it's the truth.
  11. WV Cowboy

    WV Cowboy Waitin' on the 6th

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    Impressive what man can do.

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