2^64 bytes is enough for any human
Posted Apr 15, 2004 13:53 UTC (Thu) by zooko
Parent article: The Grumpy Editor goes 64-bit
Do you think that we will someday need more memory than can be addressed with 64 bits?
2^64 is 18,446,744,073,709,551,616. That's 17,179,869,184 gigabytes.
Suppose you had some kind of memory storage device which could store 1 gigabyte in a 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter square. Then your whole system would occupy a field 130 meters by 130 meters. Or you could go 3-D -- suppose you have a 1 GB device 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter. Then you would need a volume 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters to hold enough of these devices to store 2^64 bytes.
And what would you store in there? Let me put it another way -- what's your max bandwidth? How many bytes of data can you meaningfully produce or consume in a second? Let's say that you will someday produce and/or consume 1 GB per second, and you want to store all of this stuff for possible later use. Then this device that you have can store enough of this data for 544 year's worth of uninterrupted, non-repeating production/consumption.
Maybe corporations, AIs, or neo-humans will have use for such amounts of memory, but I don't think that humans will!
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