Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The start of the Internet

Vint Cerf, the father of the Internet, spoke today about its future. We were at the Oxford Internet Institute. He started by showing us a toy, a toy that flashed, played music, waved its bits in time to the music, a toy that cost $600, maybe $800, but he says it's the toy that Japanese children are playing with, and you download the music and programs and choreography for it from the internet.

He talked about sending messages between planets - it takes some time, and by the time you're up and running the planets have rotated.

He pointed out how cheap hardware has become, a few gigabytes of hard disk that would have cost several million dollars in the seventies, now being less than a $100. Now he could buy 2TB of disk for, say, $100. Then he could buy 10MB for similar. 2TB is 2 * 10 to the 8 times as much so 2*10 to the 10 dollars or 20 G$ - I think…

He showed us, real time, how the internet could give him data on the humidity and temperature of his wine cellar now, in passing commenting on the variation in light that suggested someone had been into his wine cellar.

He commented that he'd thought IPv6 had such a large number of addresses that each electron in the Universe could have its own web page – but somebody had pointed out that the number is 50 orders of magnitude greater than the IPv6 address space.

He spoke quickly and absorbed us for an hour, answering four questions clearly and concisely and thanking us for inviting him and listening. Swell speaker. Lucky PhD students in the OII who are working on such a fascinating area.

Here are the details: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/events/details.cfm?id=215

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