The Incredible Shrinking Data Storage

In the beginning was paper.

4.5 megs data in 62500 punch cards, 1955

4.5 megabytes of data in 62500 punch cards, 1955

tlqSeko6BlUABWIUP9FF8PMPVZdOBb4udh_gebTaRW8

132 MB on floppies on the right. 128 GB flash drive on the left.

gates

“This CD-ROM can hold more information than all the paper that’s here below me”
– Bill Gates,1994

1024px-8_bytes_vs._8Gbytes

8 GB memory resting on 64 magnetic cores that hold 8 bytes.

post-4828-0-70084000-1404521894

10 years = 1 order of magnitude.

Kingston™ is now planning to release a HyperX 1 TB thumb drive.

Where do we go from here? Science is playing with SMMs (Single Molecule Magnets) and SAMs (Single Atom Magnets.)

Are we on track to replicate “Ms Fnd in a Lbry“? Only time will tell.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

Ms fnd in a lbry… real-time

I previously posted about Hal Draper’s delightful mathematical science-fiction story – the only one he ever wrote – about the challenges of storing and indexing data in ever smaller spaces, requiring ever-larger retrieval indices. But back in 1966, librarians were taking stock of their growing inventories of information, and turning to computers to lend a helping hand… uh, transistor.

SHORPY_15437u

1966. “To the rescue. Many librarians believe computers are the only means to effectively cope with their bulging bookshelves.” New York World-Telegram and Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress. Found at Shorpy.

This photo was taken three years before I took my first FORTRAN class, on a Univac 1108. The advances I have seen in technology in my lifetime rival what my grandparents experienced moving from horse-and-buggy days to the advent of commercial jets, from radio to television. My smartphone has more processing power than the IBM 370/138 I worked on as a graduate student; I always wonder with white-hot curiosity what my grandchildren will be experiencing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.