Tarek Chaaban

Tarek Chaaban, M.Sc's official blog. It contains current web project portfolio, posts regarding his Canadian army experience, news, sports articles, and web tutorials on programming and using social networking technologies.

What comes after the Terabyte?

I’ve a question: what comes after the Terabyte?

8 bits = 1 Byte

What comes after the Byte ?
1024 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte

What comes after the kilobyte ?
1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte

What comes after the Megabyte ?
1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte

What comes after the Gigabytes ?
1024 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte

What comes after the Terabytes?
1024 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte

What comes after the Petabytes ?
1024 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte

What comes after the Exabyte ?
1024 Exabyte = 1 zettabyte

What comes after the zettabyte ?
1024 zettabyte = 1 Yottabyte

152 Comments

  1. It will be almost impossible to create a computer with a YHZ of speed, because in order to create a processor with that many transistors, and keep each transistor above 100 atoms, the processor would have to be about as big as a 5 by 5 foot table! Rendering it to large for practical use. I have a Two Linked Mac Pros with 3.22 GHZ 4 quad core processors with 32 gb ram, i think for right now this is about as powerful you can get

  2. this is to:
    34.Charles on June 22, 2008

    That may be, but digital memory is more or less lossless, i.e. we biologically remember general information in huge swaths, but it’s very very difficult to maintain even a small amount of any data at 100% of accuracy. Which is pretty much what makes us all unique, the ability to be forever unique and survice without needing to be 100% accurate. Try that with any computer, and they all fail instantly.

    reply to this @ yocto@live.com

  3. Interesting that this thread has been going on for just over 2 years and 4 months today, and how far computing power has forged ahead and prices have dropped, for us ordinary folks at home. I still remember the headlines when a meg of RAM dropped to just $1, e thought that was so incredible, and it ws for the time. I once paid $300 for boosting my Ksypro 88-2 RAM up to 750K, the limit at that time.
    I keep wondering when Moores Law will finally push them to break the 4.0 barrier, and when they will stop making 1.X Ghz chips, or even the 2.x ones and finally get 3.0 and better for everything.
    But I am pretty amazed at how fast the Terabyte drive and arrived and even how faster it dropped below $100 price.
    But I’ve also read that it’s the little flash drive type cards and etc all the shapes and configurations they come in, that holds a real future. That they knew when they first invented them that the upper limits could easily be a Terabyte in the same size.
    And what about Crystal memory storage, in all three dimensions of a cube, tremendous potential and space in just a tiny one. I like these new multi-core machines, just got my first one, 2 core, 2.8 Ghz 64 bit, 6 gigs of RAM, 620 gig HD plus a 23″ monitor for $559 plus tax, was the included monitor that sealed the deal for me. I call these Baby Cray Embryo’s or maybe Craybo’s for short, still working on that tag.
    For all this speculation on how the hardware is going to evolve and it will, I keep wondering what we are going to do with it, actually use it for. Personally I’m hoping to live long enough for a real Holo-deck experience. I try not to think too much about the Dark side of it all.
    As to the Byte names I like the list in #38 especially the obiwannabyte, it makes me smile
    And the brain percentage thing, I believe its that we don’t use more than 10% of the potential at any one time, And we never will exceed that limit until someone either discovers or perhaps re-discovers the proper training methods, techniques, etc, that it requires to access the higher levels of use. Just like you don’t give a 6 year old a Multi-core Nuclear weapon sitting on top of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, sans the user manual, as his first weapon; you get him a toy rubber sword or something similar that he can’t hurt anything with until you can teach him certain responsibilities of ownership. The same applies to the full potential of the human brain and mind..

    And that’s my 9.3 cents worth for today

  4. Well since we have terabytes hard drives and gigabytes of ram. i would assume if we ever get a Yottabyte hard drives we would have a Zettabyte of memory. That said we would be at a Zetta-Hertz processor since we are at Giga-hertz now. Even though this seems huge, by the time we get this far programs will be larger and more complicated. Remember there was once a time a 1.44 mb Floppy disk carried the information we needed at the time now we have flash drives that holds 64 gb of information. Remember everything is being digitalized. music was first on a cd, then a dvd movie, now a blue ray. There are some people out there that are working on an Ultra high definition format. Which the resolution is 10 times more then the 1080p. so as long as there are people out there that are pushing the envelope, we will need the computing power to do so. Yes it sounds godly but if we took our computer back to the 70′s where computers took a whole room, we would seem to have a huge system and yet almost everyone has one.

  5. 1. I see a computer with YHZ of speed in less than 5 years, in practical use in 10.
    Those numbers you just quoted were once placed on the gigabyte technology as well was it not.
    2. Human recall is not 100% accurate but memory is ! I point to the fact that from medicine in the form of psychotherapy, science and even entertainment, people retain things they cannot recall in their subconscious memory.

  6. one thing i think alot of people have overlooked is the fact that we already have procesors capable of INSANE! amounts of data a the moment (how much i do not remember) but it is well behond what is currently available / comprihendable.

    The problem with these processors is that they generate heat so fast that they are only capable of running for a fraction of a second before they ‘blow up’.

    So one main part of the evolution of technology is…..

    If the tempriture of the arctic+ all our current technology can not cool these things down… what will?
    and secondly if we can finaly figure out how to cool them… how are we going to put it in a PC that isnt the size of a house to keep them cool enough to use.

    ps my apologies for my poor english i am still getting the grasp of this.

  7. My response to Kevin… I believe in 10 years we will be laughing at 1 Terabytes. Your comments remind me of a quote I heard years ago when someone said “There is nothing new to learn in science” or “we have learned all there is in science” It makes me chuckle. Think about the first computer… It took up rooms, not just a 5 x 5 foot square of space and did a lot less and was very slow.

  8. well then it seems we have a logical discussion on our hands, the real question in my eyes is not if we can get to those speeds but when. computer technology advances very fast i mean remember when 2GB’s was a lot? and remember the costs of that hardware? but now look you can pick up a 1.5 TB hard drive for under $100.00 USD and thats just whats out right now, by next summer 2 or 3 TB hard drives will be in and sooner or latter someone will develop a new file system or a new way to store data and then we will most likely be seeing petabytes. but on the other side there is the issue with heat, this seems to be the bigist problem with creating computers that compute at the speeds listed above as many have pointed out there is no way to cool these things with anything we know of so in order for computer technology to move forward cooling technology need to advance as well. One possible remedy for this comes from some news that leaked out about a certain computer company developing a way to grow synthetic diamonds to use for some part of the motherboard or CPU now i am no scientist so i don’t know exactly how this is done or how it works but i have been told that by using the diamond in place of other less durable materials that it will allow for greater heats and in turn faster computing speeds, remember hardly any thing is imposable sure the first versions of these computers will be large and impractical but as time rolls on they will grow smaller and more common.

  9. we have only just begun with proccessor speeds. in the near future, proccessors will be made from man made diamonds which are far more effective than silicon in everyway. Its just a matter of time.

  10. I think that in time, maybe 5-15 year, we will have found a way to cool down these processors and make them compact. I’m sure back in the day people said the EXACT same thing about gigabytes and look where we are NOW. laptops the size of the palm of you hand. so do i think it will happen and is possible, YES! i i cant wait to get one!

  11. Someone should take a whole bunch of 500 TB servers and create a YB server the size of a 2000 sq. foot house. That would be something I’d like to see, and take up all its space. Imagine, in 50 years, what we paid $1000 for now will be practically worthless.

  12. While I think diamond will eventually replace silicon its not just about cooling (moving the heat away). They are constantly making chips that produce less heat.
    Ways to reduce heat in the first place:
    - Run on less voltage
    - smaller size
    - reduce voltage leakage
    - make chips that run on light
    to name just a few.

    The quote by Ken Koch “With transistors at 65-nanometer sizes, the heating rate would increase 8 times whenever the clock speed was doubled, outstripping our ability to carry the heat away by standard air cooling.” Referring to the leakage problem, not actual power consumption. It was discovered that hafnium-based compound can be employed in gate insulators in the 45 nm generation of integrated circuits from Intel, IBM and others, allowing reduction of the gate leakage current which improves performance. Its the reason for Intel’s hafnium-based process, it reduces leakage.

    If you can make a chip that generates less heat then you will have less heat to pump away.

  13. You are all such GEEKS…sure you’ve heard this before…prob at school!!! Did you ever leave????

    N00B!

  14. I am wondering why no one has mentioned quantum teleportation yet, though we are not at the stage to use what we know of quantum mechanics.

    once we develop a way to use quantum teleportation our computers will be far beyond a yottabyte.

    (we are reaching a limit with what we can do, due to the speed of light and how well our “switchs” work. but when we are able to use quantum teleportation it will remove the limitation of the speed of light.)

  15. Interesting that this thread has been going on for just over 2 years and 4 months today, and how far computing power has forged ahead and prices have dropped, for us ordinary folks at home. I still remember the headlines when a meg of RAM dropped to just $1, e thought that was so incredible, and it ws for the time. I once paid $300 for boosting my Ksypro 88-2 RAM up to 750K, the limit at that time.
    I keep wondering when Moores Law will finally push them to break the 4.0 barrier, and when they will stop making 1.X Ghz chips, or even the 2.x ones and finally get 3.0 and better for everything.
    But I am pretty amazed at how fast the Terabyte drive and arrived and even how faster it dropped below $100 price.
    But I’ve also read that it’s the little flash drive type cards and etc all the shapes and configurations they come in, that holds a real future. That they knew when they first invented them that the upper limits could easily be a Terabyte in the same size.
    And what about Crystal memory storage, in all three dimensions of a cube, tremendous potential and space in just a tiny one. I like these new multi-core machines, just got my first one, 2 core, 2.8 Ghz 64 bit, 6 gigs of RAM, 620 gig HD plus a 23″ monitor for $559 plus tax, was the included monitor that sealed the deal for me. I call these Baby Cray Embryo’s or maybe Craybo’s for short, still working on that tag.
    For all this speculation on how the hardware is going to evolve and it will, I keep wondering what we are going to do with it, actually use it for. Personally I’m hoping to live long enough for a real Holo-deck experience. I try not to think too much about the Dark side of it all.
    As to the Byte names I like the list in #38 especially the obiwannabyte, it makes me smile
    And the brain percentage thing, I believe its that we don’t use more than 10% of the potential at any one time, And we never will exceed that limit until someone either discovers or perhaps re-discovers the proper training methods, techniques, etc, that it requires to access the higher levels of use. Just like you don’t give a 6 year old a Multi-core Nuclear weapon sitting on top of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, sans the user manual, as his first weapon; you get him a toy rubber sword or something similar that he can’t hurt anything with until you can teach him certain responsibilities of ownership. The same applies to the full potential of the human brain and mind..

    And that’s my 9.3 cents worth for today
    -
    Well here we are in 2010. petabyte is on its way and is arriving at an estimated price of $750. Thats right folks 13.5 years of 1080p HD video. And merlin you were right. Solid State Drives are the new leader in high speed hard drives. They are dropping in cost and growing in storage size. In fact 1 terabyte SSD drives are now availible. Moores Law has pushed processors graphics cards and RAM to all new plateaus with DDR4 and Quad SLI GPU. I remember in 1990 when my dad spent 3 grand on a quantex computer with a 1 gb hard drive. I dont remeber how much ram that was but I imagine that if you calculated the inflation and purchased a $6000 machine today you could go back in time to 1990 and have the worlds fastest super computer.

  16. My mate and I was just having a rather reminiscent discussion on this subject. As I can remember buying a brand new computer and it having 1 gig on it. That was plenty of rom then too. It was plenty enough to put quite a few games on it and play with absolutely no problem at all. Now there is just a much higher need for memory and the complexity of programs has drastically increased. The great incline in technology in just these so few years is quite amazing.

  17. it sounds like jibberish but alot of memory

  18. it will be possible to create a 1 YHz of speed processors there wil be like a thousands of milligrams of memory and bits of hard drive in the state y drive.

  19. And another thing is that they already have created a processor that can operate at 300 GHZ in room tempurature. I have not looked at the specifics on it but still, that is an impressive feat. Further more under extreme cooling it can operate at 500 GHZ so that just goes to show, some day in the near future I belive once these get shrunk to a practical size we’ll be utilizing these in our everyday lives. The arrival of the one TB SSD is a remarkable milestone in the evolution of computers as well, so as time progresses we shall also see these taking shape in things that we can fit in our mobile devices, imagine having a TB in our hand for photos, hd video, ect… and not to mention a PB in our computers.

  20. I remember in 1996 getting my very first PC and it had a 2GB hard drive on it and i remember people telling you will never fill that up and last week i purchased a 1.5TB hard drive its crazy how far technology has came along

  21. I don’t think we’ll see a YHZ in less than 20 years, but I do see us having CPU speeds that are near petabyte range, and hdd of at least exabytes in 15 years or less. Now they already have petabyte hdd’s, just not commercially, they probably even have exabyte hdds, the government just keeps things under lock and key for a while, either way, it’ll be great when those finally come out, but I know I’ll wait for the big price drops lol

  22. Nano processors.
    theoretically, the electrons get pushed around on a sub-atomic level. In theory, the speeds are almost limitless. If i remember correctly

  23. Quantum processors.
    theoretically, the electrons get pushed around on a sub-atomic level. In theory, the speeds are almost limitless. If i remember correctly

  24. You all seem to have a superb fascination with technology. You should really try mastering the English language. I am embarrassed to read your pathetic attempts at written communication. Has our society become so dependent on texting to communicate that the basics of our written language will be lost forever?
    Shame on you all.

  25. I don’t think the technology we have now will just continue to increase as it has. Someone will come up with some radical concept that will turn us in a different direction. For example, the idea of a weapon of mass destruction was believed long before it was invented. But it was only realized when someone stopped using the same old explosion idea. The atom bomb is an explosion that results from an implosion – a radical idea at the time of conception. For example hard drives started with bytes, on one single plate, and has increase to the terabyte level. But in the background there is the solid state drive and some other concepts that are taking route. Who knows, the computer of the future might operate nothing like it does now???????????????????
    I for one am looking forward, but like someone else said on this discussion, what on earth are we the common people going to do with such a monster in our homes? I can certainly see the NASA fold benefiting from it, but not the household.

    May the force be with you.

  26. you could get better then 3.2GHZ ive seen CPus overclocked to 4Ghz

  27. umm a kevin first dude to post the coolist thing ever happend a week or so ago odds are you probaly wont see this and might even already know but. around 1month ago this guy made a transister with 8 atom =-)

    and thinken of it u are correct the transister can only get so big befor it is well the size of a cofee table as u put it. but maybe just maybe we could make some thing like transisters but better out of subatomic particles hmmm netrons protons electrons and what not. some attoms have 130 netrons or more so if we cut it down to 8 itd be like much tinyier well not as small as a hydrogen atom but its way smaller then silicon atoms.

    althou i dont know much about electronics but in the world of tommrow any thing is possible.

    hell we might 1 day make transisters or what ever we callem out of the stuff that makes ps and es and ns.

    transisters billions of times more powerfull all out of a single atom kinda crazy but if we dont kill are selves off i dont c why not.

    althou as some have said maybe a entirly idea would be best cause how would u handle some thing that small any how lol????

  28. What was wil not be. What shall wil be!

    Quantum physics is hear. Sillicon has outlived its use like mag tape on the A-track.

    Yes SSD are here, within 4 years. All data storage wil be quantified by how much, how small and is ther a limit.

    nano technology wil nt be seen in movies bt it wil be the AI of our grandkidz households. There wil be new coined terms to identity that atomic technology.

    Lets not be redundant. Watch out for paraportation as an endless possibility of information gateway.

  29. Just back to the original topic, what comes after a yottabyte… and where does it end?

    Will we be rewriting the dictionary to keep up with technology?

  30. there is something after terabyte but what is that __________ byte

  31. i think the invention of new tecnology and makig it easier to use is endless it will go on after all of our time. like the processor in a standard 100 dollar mobile phone will be as good or even better then the computers we use now think back to when there was no electricity and now there is a wide rang of ways to power phones computers lights and everything around us i cant wait to see what they come up with next … im 16 years old so the older i get the more i get to see and use lol :)

  32. I know this sounds crazy but the most logical step after zettabyte would be a Googlebyte a Googlebyte is 10 to the power of hundred zeros. They call it the infinate drive (by they I am referring to the word googol and the dictionary) but there is an end to this number. It was not too long ago that we could not understand information being stored in a liquid form but now they have them on the market for the right price and up to 100 terabytes! and with the new nano tech being pumped onto the market (a gigabyte can be stored in an area no more then 1 millimeter Cubed, we are not that far off (If we havent gotten their yet).

    Also the Dictionary is re-writen every year as new discoveries and formulations of words are changed (also new words created). Language evolves just as fast as our calture does.

  33. Correction to my last post where i said Googlebyte comes after zettabyte, zettabyte was suposed to be Yottabyte

  34. DNA is the solution

    Our computers today run on the binary number system which include 0′s and 1′s, but our DNA, which is where our genetic information is stored, is based on A T C and G which is equivalent to 0, 1, 2, and 3.

    Using DNA to store our data would exponentially increase the amount of information we could store on our hard drives, this together with DNA’s ability to super coil, and its lack of heat emissions would prove to be the solution to our storage problems in the future.

  35. I would have to say that in terms a faster more efficient technology within computer hardware innovations, that doing away with copper and replacing all connections with fiber-optics would have to be in the not-too-far off future. This alone would reduce overall CPU temps while sending and receiving data at the speed of light. Can’t wait!

  36. wow, i want a 1 yhz processor with 1 yottabyte of ram, and a 1 yottabyte video card, and so on…that would be great, you could run crysis without any lag at all

  37. This is a great thread. I hope it never dies. It would be awesome if, say, a decade or two from now, this thing were still running…. I don’t know why I think that, I just do…

  38. I believe that there will be a cap on some processor technology due to economics. Eventually we will reach a point where a faster processor will not provide enough extra benefit for the cost, at least for the average consumer. Unless we as humans can make ourselves biologically faster using technology, there will be a point where the power of computers will become so much that anything more powerfull will have no more bennifit. So I think that eventually, the development of faster computer technology will slow. But I can’t see the future, so who knows.

  39. Everybody’s forgotten Quantum Computing: Not just 1 and 0, But 1, 0, and 10!! (or 01)

  40. I just got the iOmega 2TB USB drive from FutreShop for $149.99. My old external drive was 120 GB which I think I paid $300 for, which was upper end in 2003. So in another 7 years, I should be able to pay $75 for 20TB external drive? I doubt it, it’ll be more like 2 PB for $150. The achievements in storage are increasing exponsentially. In ten years, 5 PB drives will be available. Unless Nostradamus was right.

  41. I’d also love to see the gloriousness of a Yottabyte in a single location, but you really need to wrap your head around how huge a Yottabyte really is. The University of Glasgow has developed the nanotechnology capable of packing 500,000 gigabytes, or nearly 500 terabytes, into a single chip just one inch square. Using those to make a Yottabyte farm would seem wise due to their minuscule construction. But it would take 2,000 of these chips to make a single exabyte, and a Yottabyte is 1,000,000 exabytes. So it would take an astounding 2 BILLION chips of 500 terabytes each to make a Yottabyte. Doing the math, 2 billion square inches turns out to being 13,888,888.9 square feet. That’s half of a square mile, packed with chips.

    So, ILIKEAIR57, I severely doubt anyone could pack all of that, along with the wiring and cooling, into a 2,000 sq ft building. But as technology advances with surprising speed, I’m sure Yottabyte-sized servers will be just around the corner.

    And I do hope the prices continue to decline. The last I checked, buying an exabyte of storage still costs $500 million USD.

  42. Most of you people here should go back to school. Why talk about YHZ of speed when you don’t have a basic understanding of physics. I’m not even getting in what one of the dudes have said “Quantum processors…..theoretically, the electrons get pushed around on a sub-atomic level” Hahaha….. That’s what you think quantum processors are doing?
    Anyway getting back to YHZ speed I believe you are talking about the clock speed of the CPU. Dudes, the highest frequency of electromagnetic radiation is around 300 EHZ and that spectrum belongs to what we call Gamma ray. So far impractical to build a CPU with that. There are no YHZ frequencies! The visible light frequency is around 400-790 THZ and that’s optical computing. Fast and there is no much heat disipation that we’ll have to talk about here. Much less anyway than in the current stage of 3GHZ.

  43. The reason computers work in binary code (0-1) is that it registers on and off signals off=0, on=1. This binary code is then converted to usable is then converted to numbers and language that us humans understands. Using “DNA” would mean that we will have to adapt the way we compute and use electricity completely. But I agree, the opportunities of using something else than a binary system would increase computer speeds and storage exponentially. Just imagine

  44. Yesterday I bought 1zetabyte, but i dont think the performance is very good.

  45. Speed increases as size decreases. Smaller chips usually result in faster processor speeds because the data has less distance to travel, but smaller chips also result in greater heat generation, which needs to be managed. I think in order to get speeds of YHz we will need to find a way to reduce heat generation or a more efficient way of cooling. It’ll happen but most likely not for another 10-15 years.

  46. this is just to elaborate on what Gavin ended with. there is something being worked on called super conductivity that usually only happens in extreme cold and thats what our scientist are working toward. there are super conducting railroads in japan that’s how they float the trains

  47. Since 1024 terabytes is a petabyte, can we assume that a system with 1024 tera-files is a “peta-file” system that the online predator police will have to keep watch for (pedophile)?

    There are exactly 10 types of people in the world — those who understand binary, and those who do not.

    8 bits to a byte is arguable. “Byte” is short for “BinarY TErm” and represents the number of bits worked with as a group.

    In the old baudot communication standard (documented in an AT&T journal dated September 1920), a byte was 5 bits. But when you added the parity bit at one of the communication layers, it was 6 bits. In yet another communication layer, a stop bit is added making a 7 bit byte.

    ASCII is a 7 bit byte standard.

    Old IBM computers and others developed back in that time used a standard 9 bit byte — 8 data bits and a parity bit to check the reliability of the data and reduce errors. All core memory and tape backups, etc. used a 9 bit byte. This is why the old tape backup and data storage were called 9-track tapes.

    As memory systems became more and more reliable, it has been decided that the parity bit was no longer needed, so the byte gradually dropped from 9-bit to 8-bit.

    Today the Standard Byte is 8 bits, but if you are ever reading ancient documentation, don’t assume that a byte is 8 bits.

    Andy

  48. @Zorro

    Yes, there are limits to how fast an item can move, how high em frequency can go, etc, but that does not automatically mean you can only go up to that level for computing. Three processors can work in tandem to exceed physical limitations in their total output. One processor routes the content and the other two process it, for example. Furthermore, you neglect the theoretical particles and waves that move faster than light, assuming they do exist and can be used. Also, you neglect fields; there is no speed of a field, magnetic, gravitational, or otherwise. The field either exists or does not. If we could learn to send data over a field instead of a wave then there is no physical limitation (and you would always have cell coverage ;-) . The problem with this has always been making the connection from the field, which is not physical, thus, not having physical limits, to the object, which is physical, thus having physical limits.

    This kind of talk always leads me to quote Nikola Tesla:

    “Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe.”

    We are nearing that generation where all machinery is powered by the atoms around them, communicate using the gravitational fields they are in, and store their data in super-subatomic lattice structures. Crazy conspiracy theorist stuff ahead: If only the government would stop interfering we might already be there, or at least much closer.

    The point is, as a scientist you need to think out of the box, and be willing to challenge the facts of today to prove the facts of tomorrow.

  49. 2011 and i got 1 yottabyte!!

  50. I still hope for the Star Trek future when it comes to tech.

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