Google's Project 02: two football fields, with twin cooling plants...


In A town peeks behind Google's silicon curtain The New York Times / IHT take a look at a new super data center:

On the banks of the windswept Columbia River, Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a secret when it is a computing center as big as two football fields, with twin cooling plants protruding four stories into the sky.


I love it...

I've always been a fan of 1960's sci-fi books and movies where a computer is going to take over the Earth -- ex. "Colossus: The Forbin Project". Back then people were picturing a really huge second generation computer with miles and miles of transitors, resistors, capacitors and wirewrap. It always grew into a world-straddling system of data processing centers so that it would be impossible to attack or shut down.

Around 1982, the Japanese started a "Fifth Generation Computer" project which was going to be a massively parallel machine designed for artificial intelligence applications. After a doomed flirtation with dataflow architectures, they wound up with an overall system architecture remarkably similar to today's large cluster computers: with the difference that the instruction set, operating system and compilers were designed to support logic programming.

In the 1980's people also made conjectures about the equivalent CPU power to the human brain... Funny enough, "Deep Blue", the machine that beat Gary Kasparov, was on the low end of the range.

It's both exciting and scary to see these dreams coming true.

This book makes a strong case that:

(i) computer networks will develop superhuman intelligence, but
(ii) we won't "create god", but rather we'll create a pantheon of godlings, and
(iii) the risk isn't that we'll be overthrown, but that the global computer network will become unreliable



Downwind and between Mt. St Helens [active] and Mt Hood [dormant ]

Active volcano
Scientists usually consider a volcano active if it is currently erupting or showing signs of unrest, such as unusual earthquake activity or significant new gas emissions. Many scientists also consider a volcano active if it has erupted in historic time. It's important to note that the span of recorded history differs from region to region; in the Mediterranean, recorded history reaches back more than 3,000 years but in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, it reaches back less than 300 years, and in Hawai`i, little more than 200 years.

Dormant volcano
Dormant volcanoes are those that are not currently active (as defined above), but could become restless or erupt again.

The Dalles bristles with

The Dalles bristles with electricity... literally. Way back, I made a film about the Intertie, then the world's largest power line project, and basically you've got the Columbia River hydro dams, a vast power converter station, and immense aluminum towers and power lines in a bleak but beautiful landscape. Your hair stands on end when you walk under those power lines.

You've gotta wonder what kind of computer center they're building up there.

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