Did you know that a state of the art supercomputer costs $100m? The price never comes down with time – the speed just goes up. Today’s leading edge box — actually it’s a datacentre full of racks, not a single box — has over 1Petaflops of processing power.
Such is the progress of technology that in three years time this will not even be in the top 500 of supercomputer performances. At that point the maintenance costs also start to ramp up so your average supercomputer owner just bins it and buys another one. It’s what I’d do 🙂
What is also interesting is that today’s supercomputer processor speed flows down to the laptop of 12 years hence. So in 2021 you will get one hell of a bang for your buck. Whether you will need that much power to send emails and operate Word 2021 (or whatever it will be called then) is unlikely.
I guess the power will be usable for improved 3D HD graphics for gaming and TV but I’m not sure what other apps will need it. Whole brain simulations on a laptop perhaps. Build it and they will come… It does point to a huge continued growth in network bandwidth usage.
Of course the laptop won’t cost $100m. I just put that in for effect! My guess is that all laptops will come free with subscription to network services.