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Index – Science and Technology – What can a modern phone do compared to old supercomputers?

Index – Science and Technology – What can a modern phone do compared to old supercomputers?

As physicist Michio Kaku has pointed out, the computing power of smartphones now exceeds that of the computing equipment used in the Apollo moon landing program. The reason for this, of course, is Moore’s Law, according to which the number of transistors built on integrated circuits doubles every two years. The question is exactly how dizzying evolution is, and the answer is very little.

In 1985, Seymour Cray introduced the most powerful supercomputer of its time, the Cray-2. Cray-2 could perform 1.9 billion floating-point operations (technically: flops) per second and topped the supercomputer rankings until 1988. This represented a one hundred and fifty-five thousand-fold increase over the 12,250 flips of the computer aboard Apollo 11.

In comparison, the Apple iPhone 12 introduced in 2020 performs 11,000 billion failure calculations, 5,000 times faster than the Cray-2. The iPhone 14’s performance is already 2 teraflops, meaning it performs 10,000 times more calculations than the previous supercomputer. If we consider that Cray-2 processors combined with a waterfall-like cooling system were built in a one and a half square meter tower, for contemporary 1980s phone performance, a 7-14 thousand square meter hall would have had to be packed with… Like these zodiac signs.

Cray-1 processors introduced in 1976 ran at 80MHz on 8MB of memory, while the Samsung Galaxy S9 introduced five years earlier processed data at 4 x 2.7GB of 4GB of memory.

Back to the moon: The device in our pocket can perform ten million times the calculations performed by the Apollo 11 computer. The capabilities of the iPhone 14 can be compared to the supercomputers of the late 1990s, while today’s supercomputers provide superior performance, which is a million times that of an Apple phone .

In comparison, we can also explain the same person: Deep Blue’s performance was 11.38 gigaflops, so if you like, your phone is about a hundred times more powerful than the phone that defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 at chess.