I am bewildered by this argument...
[Heck Ive recently learnt that using ellipses is an easy way to
produce literature... So there...]
On Thursday, June 12, 2014 2:36:50 PM UTC+5:30, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> It is my contention that, had Intel and AMD spent the last few decades
> optimizing for power consumption rather than speed, we probably could run
> a server off, well, perhaps not a watch battery, but surely a factor of
> 100 improvement in efficiency isn't unreasonable given that we're just
> moving a picogram of electrons around?
This is fine and right.
I personally would pay more if my PCs/laptops etc were quieter/efficient-er.
So we agree... upto here!
> On Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:16:08 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:
> > On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> >> I'm just pointing out that our computational technology uses over a
> >> million times more energy than the theoretical minimum, and therefore
> >> there is a lot of room for efficiency gains without sacrificing
> >> computer power. I never imagined that such viewpoint would turn out to
> >> be so controversial.
> > The way I understand it, you're citing an extremely theoretical minimum,
> > in the same way that one can point out that we're a long way from
> > maximum entropy in a flash memory chip, so it ought to be possible to
> > pack a lot more data onto a USB stick.
> Um, yes?
> Hands up anyone who thinks that today's generation of USB sticks will be
> the highest capacity ever, that all progress in packing more memory into
> a thumb drive (or the same memory into a smaller drive) will cease
> effective immediately?
> > The laws of physics tend to put
> > boundaries that are ridiculously far from where we actually work - I
> > think most roads have speed limits that run a fairly long way short of
> > c.
> "186,000 miles per second: not just a good idea, it's the law"
> There's no *law of physics* that says cars can only travel at the speeds
> they do. Compare how fast a typical racing car goes with the typical
> 60kph speed limit in suburban Melbourne. Now compare how fast the
> Hennessey Venom GT goes to that speed limit.
Now you (or I) are getting completely confused.
If you are saying that the Hennessey Venom (HV) is better than some
standard vanilla Ford/Toyota (FT) based on the above, thats ok.
maxspeed(HV) = 250 mph
maxspeed(FT) = 150 mph
so HV is better than FT.
But from your earlier statements you seem to be saying its better
250 mph is closer to 186,000 mps (= 670 million mph) than 150 mph
Factually this is a correct statement.
Pragmatically this is as nonsensical as comparing a mile and a
> Speed limits for human-piloted ground-based transport ("cars") are more
> based on social and biological factors than engineering ones. Similarly,
> there are biological factors that force keyboards to be a minimum size.
> We probably could build a keyboard where the keys were 0.1mm square, but
> what would be the point? Who could use it? Those social and biological
> factors don't apply to computing efficiency, so it's only *engineering*
> factors that prevent us from being able to run your server off a watch
> battery, not the laws of physics.
As best as I can see you are confused about the difference between
science and engineering.
Saying one car is better engineered than another on direct comparison
(150mph<250mph) is ok
Saying one car is better than another because of relation to physics
limits (c-150>c-250) is confusing science and engineering.
Likewise saying AMD and Intel should have done more due diligence to
their clients (and the planet) by considerging energy efficiency is right
and I (strongly) agree.
But compare their products' realized efficiency with theoretical limits like
Landauers is a type-wrong statement