Friday, February 25, 2011

Predicting Technology

Earlier this week I was looking for an article in the old printed versions of the Court Technology Bulletin and ran across an article on the 1996 COMDEX computer exposition in the January/February 1997 edition.  At that conference I had the privilege of seeing a presentation by Intel CEO, Andy Grove who would later be named 1997 Time Magazine's "Person of the Year".

During the address Mr. Grove made the following prediction about computer power in the year 2011 that we documented in the CTB.

"What Will 2011 Bring?" (1997 CTB article)

"Today's top PC microprocessors contain 5.5 million transistors (using .35 micron fabrication technology), run at 200 MHz, and process 400 million instructions per second.

In his COMDEX keynote address, Andy Grove, president and CEO of Intel Corporation, predicts that the computer of the year 2011 will have one billion transistors (based on .07 micron technology), run at 10 GHz, and process 100 billion instructions per second.  Such a PC would be 250 times more powerful than today's top-of-the-line Pentium Pro machines, in a little over a decade."

So let's see how Andy did?  Recently Intel announced yet another generation of processor chips, code named "Poulson" for 2011.  The specifications say:

  • 3.1 Billion Transistors (Andy predicted 1 billion)
  • 32 nano-micron technology (Andy predicted 70 nano-microns)
  • The new chip has 8-12 core processors. This parallel processing allows the overall chip to exceed Andy's prediction of 10 GHz by splitting work between the core processors.

I couldn't find a direct comparison regarding computer instructions per second because the new chips are rated in Gigaflops.

So Andy was a little conservative on his predictions (although the currently released i7 chips are very close).

What does this mean?  Computers are still getting faster.  It is our challenge to figure out how to use all that power effectively to help with the work of the courts.  For some possible examples of how this might be headed, Microsoft issued this video on their user interface work (3.5 minutes) that takes advantage of the increasing computing power.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

City of Dallas, Texas Seeks CCMS

The City of Dallas, Texas has posted an RFP for a new Court Case Management System (Solicitation Number BUZ1107).  The notice states:  "The purpose of this solicitation is to seek interested and qualified parties to implement a turnkey replacement Court Case Management System that will serve the needs of the City of Dallas with best in class maintainable products, with world class performance and lowest total cost of ownership over the life of the System. The City reserves the right to award by method deemed most advantageous to the City. Specifications and all associated documents may be viewed and downloaded at"