Up the stairs and turn right, there you’ll find the source of the web

Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

David Galbraith, in conjunction with Tim Berners-Lee, tracks down the exact spot where the world wide web was first devised.

I wrote the proposal, and developed the code in Building 31. I was on the second (in the European sense) floor, if you come out of the elevator (a very slow freight elevator at the time anyway) and turn immediately right you would then walk into one of the two offices I inhabited. The two offices (which of course may have been rearranged since then) were different sizes: the one to the left (a gentle R turn out of the elevator) benefited from extra length as it was by neither staircase nor elevator. The one to the right (or a sharp R turn out of the elevator) was shorter and the one I started in. I shared it for a long time with Claude Bizeau. I think I wrote the memo there.

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A Big Bang of information overload

Tuesday, 6 January, 2009

Brian Cox on the amount of data the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will generate once it is operational:

The sheer quantity of data the LHC will generate – estimated at a petabyte per month – presents an enormous challenge in terms of sorting the digital wheat from the chaff. Banks of computers at CERN will sift through data and flag anything that might be worthwhile, discarding the rest. “There just isn’t enough disk space in the world to record all of it,” says Cox.

This could present a problem…

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Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, CERN

Wednesday, 2 July, 2008

CERN’s Hadron Collider, which becomes operational shortly, has been likened to the temples of ancient times, whose builders also wished to comprehend the mysteries of the universe and creation.

This, by the way, is a part of the reason, although expressed very differently, why the Temple of Jerusalem, one of the great buildings of legend and religious faith, was based around a physical emptiness, incomprehensible to the worldly Romans who destroyed the great building in AD80. The temple, as latterly rebuilt by Herod the Great, might have been a mighty structure of stone, marble and cedar, yet its Holy of Holies, the shrine known only to high priests, contained nothing material or tangible whatsoever. What it did house, though, was the silent spirit of God.

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Coming soon: superfast internet aka “the grid”

Wednesday, 9 April, 2008

Coming soon: superfast internet

I’ve seen the future of the internet, and we’ll no longer be surfing, we’ll be “warping” (or something) and better still, it’ll all be rock n roll…

The internet could soon be made obsolete. The scientists who pioneered it have now built a lightning-fast replacement capable of downloading entire feature films within seconds. At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection, “the grid” will be able to send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds. The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the web, the grid could also provide the kind of power needed to transmit holographic images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call.

While “the grid” sounds more like the stuff of the distant – 50 years from now – future, some people will be able to tap into it as soon as year end.

I’m sure this will especially suit the Rolling Stones, though I dare say they’ll be still around in the “distant – 50 years from now – future” anyway…

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