Okay, I’ll be honest. The concept of a room-sized computer is so foreign to me that I can’t even describe it to you. As a mid-80’s baby, the biggest hunk of computer machinery I ever used was the old family HP Pavillion desktop back in the mid 90s.
But I do have a sense of the history of computers, and like the rest of the world I am amazed by the journey they’ve taken in the last 50 years. We take for granted our computers we carry around in our pockets – our 16 GB iPhones and our 160 GB iPods. In 1980, 2GB of storage meant a system the size of a refrigerator. Yeah, fit that into your skinny jeans.
This infographic made by onlinecomputersciencedegree.com is a nerdgasm, combining the history and possible future of computing with REM. Based around their 1987 classic and Independence Day alien-signalling song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine), it charts the shrinking physical size and expanding capabilities of computers from 1958 to 2010 and beyond.
From Jack Kelby building the world’s first integrated circuit in 1958, to the first laptop Osbourne 1 being created in 1981, to current drives capable of holding 2TB in the size of a book – it charts the milestones.
It also begins to speculate about computing in the future – fiber-optic computers that run on light instead of electricity and DNA-based computing that could replicate biological entities in order to solve health problems.
Oh yeah, and of course they retool the lyrics of a great song to say things like “more efficient software!”
Lenny Bruce Gordon Moore is not afraid. Check it out: