Wired: The Information Factories

Wired looks at the future of server farms, with a healthy does of futurism. Here's an equally healthy dose of skepticism.

This month's edition of Wired includes an article on data centers titled The Information Factories and written by telecom pundit George Gilder, which is now available online. Much of the article focuses on Google's celebrity data center at The Dalles, Oregon, which has been written about extensively on the front page of the New York Times and elsewhere. There are times when Gilder's self-referential writing gets in the way of the information. "When I wanted to electrify crowds with my uncanny sense of futurity, I would talk terascale (10 to the 12th power), describing a Web with an unimaginably enormous total of 15 terabytes of content," he notes early in the story. For much of the piece, he seems to still be trying to impress readers with his "uncanny sense of futurity." After an interesting look at Ask.com, Gilder gets telecosmic as he ponders next steps in the evolutionary process begun by these data centers :

The next wave of innovation will compress today's parallel solutions in an evolutionary convergence of electronics and optics: 3-D and even holographic memory cells; lasers inscribed on the tops of chips, replacing copper pins with streams of photons; and all-optical networks in which thousands of colors of light travel along a single fiber. As these advances find their way into an increasing variety of devices, the petascale computer will shrink from a dinosaur to a teleputer

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