Metcalfe’s Law, predicted by Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, states that the value of a computer network grows in proportion to the square of that number of people connected to it. A telephone line that connects to people is of limited value, but a telephone system that connects an entire city becomes an indispensable resource. Using Metcalfe’s Law, a network connecting 2 people as a value of 4, however the network connecting 4 people as the value of 16. According to some predictions the Internet will ultimately connect one billion users worldwide.
Moore’s Law predicted more than 30 years ago by Intel Corp. Chairman Gordon Moore, states that microprocessors and other miniature circuits double in circuit density, and thus in processing power, every 18 to 24 months. If Moore’s Law continues until the middle of this century, computers will be 10 billion times faster and more powerful than today’s cutting-edge machines. Storage Technology also shows a similar trend which is steep increases in capacity and steep declines in costs.
If you put these two laws together, you get a very potent mixture: computer industry is now giving us networked machines to double in power every 18 to 24 months.
As computers become smaller, faster, cheaper and more interconnected new technology will encourage the trend toward the digitization of all the world’s information and knowledge – the entire storehouse of accumulated human experience.
Over the next several years you’ll see both Moore’s and Metcalfe’s Law’s at work. What does this mean to you? Technology, in your lifetime, will allow computer and network hardware to advance to such powerful states that most people cannot even comprehend what can be achieved and how quickly with tools of this magnitude. In addition costs have been gradually decreasing as technology increases meaning that not only will we have these powerful computers and networks at our disposal but also they will be so cheap that even those in poverty last access to interconnected supercomputers.
Hopefully learn a bit more about Metcalfe’s Law and Moore’s Law. Although these laws have been around for quite some time they still seem to be holding true in providing us with a realistic method for gauging our world’s future computing and networking potential. Take a moment to think about just one single component of your computer being increased in this manner and how fast it will be in say 50 years. Most people cannot fathom what a computer with this sort of speed can truly handle and provide to the world.