Google plans sci-fi style supercomputer

Farhad Manjoo: "Google has a single towering obsession: It wants to build the Star Trek computer." [Slate]


  1. You mean the one that they crashed by asking it to calculate all the digits of pi? Guess they ran everything with Admin privilege and single-threaded.

    1. Everyone has admin privilege. In one TNG episode the thaw out some cryonically frozen people from the 21st century, and those guys have full access to things like ship’s intercom. Piccard explains that passwords and such are unnecessary because the crew knows how to use discretion.

      Also, Data once said his processor can perform 60 trillion serial operations per second. No word on threading.

  2. I must say, as a web and DB developer, I took special umbrage with the article’s description of search strings as the “search engine’s curious, keyword-laden patois”, patois being most strongly defined as “a dialect other than the standard or literary dialect” as if programming and logical languages are somehow approximate and imprecise. Sure they’re not “natural” or “convenient” for the human-types, but this quotation seems to bring out the sneaking idea that they are somehow less precise. Why not have humans become better at asking quesitons? sure they don’t have to use semi-colons and booleans in all caps, but most people suck at formulating their questions, so don’t get their desired answer from either “%man” OR “machine”.

    1.  Not necessarily. After Roger Ebert lost his voice, a company made him a voice box based on old recordings of his speech.

  3. I’d rather type and get better results, as I got 3-4 years ago, instead of the Altavista-like results I am getting these days. 

  4. I wish they could find a way to filter out all the (*&#@& content farm garbage that is written as blatant google-bait, especially when I try to find, say, a local framing store or somesuch. That said, I know they are constantly trying, while the content farmers are always evolving ahead of them. 

  5. The Star Trek computer was frequently stumped by questions. “Computer, Tea” “There are 10,000 entries for Tea, please specify”, “F-cking Earl Grey, HOT, how many times do I have to tell you!”

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