Archive for the ‘H. Bremermann’ Category

The ultimate limits of computing – a computer the size of earth

October 2, 2007

H. Bremermann proved in 1962 that “No data processing system, whether artificial or living, can process more than 2 x 1047 bits per second per gram of its mass,” which means that a hypothetical supercomputer the size of earth (= about 6 x 1027 grams) grinding away for as long as the earth has existed (= about 1010 years) can have processed at most 2.56 x 2092 bits, which number is known as Bremermann’s Limit.

Calculations involving numbers larger than 2.56 x 2092 are called transcomputational problems, meaning they’re not even theoretically doable; and there are plenty of such problems in statistical physics, complexity theory, fractals, etc.

Everything and More by David Foster Wallace