The Loch Ness Monster and 5000 Ghz CPU

Maybe it is wrong to call the suburban legend Monster of Loch Ness a monster. Biases against the unknown are difficult to lose. Computer chip biases are quantifiable however, unlike those against the Loch Ness legend.

When I slept on the streets of Portland trying to finish my last computer programming courses in 1981 the state of the art of computers was still rather primitive. PCs existed with small capacity and the Osbourne computer, though gone, was still a memory. A computer shop in a basement of an office build across the street on SW 6th had some interesting computers to look at during break. The school IBM 360 and Ohio Scientific machines supported COBOL, FORTRAN and RPG II coursework even with a Hollerith card reader. After graduating I never worked as a programmer and instead continued reading history and philosophy. It was an interesting baseline from which to observe the evolution of of programming and computer tech over 40 years.

In some respects it doesn’t seem like so much progress has occurred with CPU capacity. Yes it has and laptops are great though slow and reasonably effective if using something besides Windows that is a playground bully. It seems like there is some impending revolutionary increase in CPU size and speed that must advance it a couple orders of magnitude from the top 5 GHz to something like 5000ghz. How is it that after generations of the Pentium and i3 to i9 chips the top speed is still no more than 5ghz?

The trouble is the bottleneck of physicists that have to invent new ways to pack processing capacity into a small area. Maybe one will need to wait for Bose-Einstein condensate quantum computer chips that run very cold and calculate faster-than-light. If the late Stephen Hawking had devoted himself to improving computer chips instead of thinking about the University, gravity and black holes maybe my notebook computer useful for back-packing around would be as powerful as a super-computer; who knows.

Since I rather enjoy reading about philosophy, history and theology as I wander through life instead of worshiping material items as if they were worthy of devotion and nothing people did morally really mattered, it isn’t too great of loss to me that I never spent a lifetime learning meaningless coding for-itself that becomes obsolete as a dead language.

On resurrection day it would be odd to assert the position that I devoted myself to a dead binary computer language filling my mind with 1’s and 0’s and nothing besides. Even so, those physicists with luck shall overcome the under-50ghz barrier sooner rather than later.