A modern smartphone or a vintage supercomputer: which is more powerful?
iPhone 5s produces about 76.8 GFLOPS – nearly a thousand times more. And surely, the iPhone can render 3D graphics looking better than Tron's Lightcycle scene. On a related note, the Cray-2 supercomputer was released 10 years after the Cray-1 and was the world's fastest supercomputer until 1990. But even with a performance of up to 1.9 GFLOPS, the liquid-cooled, 200-kilowatt machine still ranks behind the Apple iPhone, at least when it comes to GFLOPS ratings.
Samsung Galaxy S5 outputs 142 GFLOPS. And the 192-core GPU on the Tegra K1 SoC produces an even more impressive peak of 364 GFLOPS. Sure, these might not be superior to Deep Blue when it comes to playing chess, but in terms of brute, number-crunching power, these mobile graphics processors stand stronger.
So yeah, technology is definitely advancing, and it is doing so at a rapid pace. What takes a supercomputer to calculate today will most likely be a piece of cake for the smartphones (or whatever they evolve into) that we'll be using in 2020, just like today's smartphones have the processing potential of a vintage supercomputer. What we'll be investing this computational power into, however, is a whole different topic. Feel free to share your predictions down in the comments!
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