- Big data, big impact?
- Feeding the 9 billion
- Countryside in Crisis?
- The Energy Water Food Stress Nexus
- Unsustainable Fishing
- Keeping pace with a digital revolution
- Global health in the 21st Century
- Adapting to an urban future
- Educating for tomorrow
- Digital technology in Africa
- Persistent poverty in Britain
- Can the UK ever be sustainable?
- Plastic pollution in the oceans
- Natural disasters: how to improve?
- Not In My Back Yard
- Digital Divide in the UK?
- Importing goods, exporting drought?
- Britain’s ageing population
- Engineering our climate
- The future shape of Capitalism
- Migration: skills and the job market
- Razing the Rainforest
- London under water
- Concreting the countryside
- Future of low carbon energy
- Africa in the 21st Century
The exponential growth of the internet
ARPANET, the worlds first computer network was conceived by the American Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This network originally linked up to a handful of Universities and organisations, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and technology company BBN.
The world's first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson, an employee at BBN, who took the decision to use the @ symbol to separate his username from the name of his computer.
6th August 1991
The World Wide Web was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who was at the time working at the European particle physics laboratory in Cern, Switzerland.
Within 4 years
By 1995 there were 6 million users online.
Within 14 years
By 2005, users of the web were estimated to have reached
Global Internet users (2012)
Asia - 1 billion
Europe - 500.7 million
North America - 273 million
L America/Carib. - 235.8 million
Africa - 139.8 million
Middle East - 77 million
Oceania/Australia - 23.9 million
Total 2.267 billion
Users in China alone are estimated to represent 25% of global internet users.
Internet usage by country
Growth in Internet users 2000-2011
Africa - 2,988%
Middle East - 2,244%
L America/Carib. - 1,205%
Asia - 789%
Europe - 376%
Oceania/Australia - 214%
North America - 152%
Average world growth 528%
One third of humanity
By 2011, the world population had reached 7 billion people, almost a third of whom (2.2 billion) are now estimated to be connected to the internet. Between 2006-2011, internet users in the developing world overtook users in developed countries.
Moore’s law is a technological trend which states that the number of transistors created in an optimal minimum cost, doubles every 18-20 months. This means that the processing power of computers doubles every 18-20 months or the price of the same processing power halfs. This results in what is known as 'exponential growth'.
It was conceived by Gordon Moore who was in charge of Intel in 1960s. It describes the exponential growth in computing power that enables the average mobile phone to process instructions millions of times faster than the earliest computers.
In the 1960s computers were extremely large, often the size of rooms and extremely expensive, which meant only large corporations and governments were able to afford them. Today we hold more computing power in the smartphones in our pockets than was conceivable a few decades previous and at a price that allow the mass market to own them.
In 1971 there were 2,300 transistors on a single microchip.
2.9 billion transistors
30 years later, in 2011, engineers were able to fit 2.9 billion transistors on each microchip. That is over 1.2 million times as many!
The Raspberry Pi computer is just a small green circuit board about the size of a credit card - but it is hoped that it will get thousands of schoolchildren interested in programming. Costing around £25 it was created by a group of British scientists and developers earlier in 2012. It is estimated to have the processing power of a new iPhone 4s.
Raspberry Pi computer in action (BBC News)
Inside Raspberry Pi (Digital Foundry)
Every 60 seconds...
of video uploaded to YouTube
emails sent (estimates 80% of which are spam)
searches on google worldwide
voice calls made on Skype
‘tweets’ sent out on twitter
iPhone apps downloaded
images uploaded to flickr