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The Industrial Era

2002 - 2004

Since you honestly can not speak of historic events for this period the editors had the idea to display the trends in computing that has drawn attention in previous five or ten years. As well as promising inventions and other developments that might be of future value. Thus this chapter will be changing constantly until events prove to be of historic importance.
If you have an idea of what should be displayed on this and the next pages please write us.

What most draws the imagination in this chapter is the development of super grids (super computers combined in a grid) and that the development of the internet goes almost down under its own success.

pre history | antiquity | pre industrial era | industrial era

1947 1949 1950 1952 1955 1958 1961 1963 1965 1969 1970 1972 1974
1976 1978 1980 1981 1982 1984 1986 1989 1991 1993 1994 1996 2000
2002 2005 2007                    


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Dr. Isaac Chuang, research staff member at IBM's Almaden Research Center (San Jose, Calif.), holds a quantum computer -- the glass tube contains special designed molecules.

Quantum computers promised to solve some of the most difficult mathematical problems exponentially faster than a conventional computer (2)



This is the first working quantum computer.


The multi billion question was: when will quantum computers be consumer ripe in the next future. Some thought it will never be the case others predicted the emergence within two decades.


In 2002 English is the Internet's main language, but it may not rule the digital waves for long.

By 2003 the number of Chinese speaking surfers is estimated to double. (11)

The number of Chinese Internet users has risen to 25.4 million from 8.9 in 1999. (19)

May, Hewlett-Packard merges with Compaq Computer forming the second largest IT company on earth.


August 1, The government of China appeared to be unsure about letting her citizens freely roam the Internet and shut down those internet shops and cafes that had no official license.

In September this year the authorities also closed down the non Chinese search engines. What was left accessible for the Chinese citizens was censored by cyber cops. China also asked foreign web sites to refrain from contents that would be regarded as being subversive.
A few days later Google is on line again. But then user's screens remained blank when requesting certain pages with political content.
This was the first time that a government tried to impose total control on the contents of the Internet for its citizens. In the past there have been (partial) attempts to do that by other governments (15) but all failed. In the past the means, technology or infrastructure would not allow to have total control and only the big holes could be plugged to bar free access to the Internet. The government of China seemed to think differently. However this action certainly gave other governments some new ideas.
In the latter months of this year the rules to use the Internet for Chinese citizens were tightened and more stringently imposed

bird view of Nec's supercomputer ESS

All supercomputing centers were flabbergasted by the public announcement of NEC's Earth Simulator System (ESS).

The performance overtook the fastest supercomputer since two years: IBM's ASCI white by a factor 5. This special purpose machine was entirely constructed on vector processors and used for climatological research.
The ultra high-speed parallel computing system, "Earth Simulator" attained the best computing performance in the world according to the Linpack benchmark (18) test. The result of this test of performance, 35.61 TFlops (trillion operations per second), was approved and the Earth Simulator was registered as the world' s fastest supercomputer by Dr. Jack J. Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, USA, who announced the world Linpack benchmark test results. (17)

Artist impression of size

to read click here

Casio Computer Co., Ltd. announced that the company has succeeded in developing small-scale, high-performance fuel cells of a unique method that can be used in portable devices.

The reformer, so-called a unique micro-reactor formed on a silicon wafer causes chemical reaction to reform methanol to hydrogen gas in the presence of catalyst at a reforming rate of more than 98%. This is the first success in the world in minimizing fuel cell of such high reforming rate.

At Oviedo, English Tim Berners-Lee, North Americans Vinton G. Cerf, Lawrence Roberts and Robert Kahn, receive the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research 2002, for their groundbreaking contribution to the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Ever wondered why the prices of gadgets and computers stayed so high in the years around the millennium change?

This is why: Samsung and other manufacturers of DRAM (memory) fixed the prices to stay high between 1999 and 2002.

source for data: anandtech.com

A sudden increase in prices occurs in the price line, see red line in graph. That this aroused suspicion of the competition may be clear. Moreover there were no valid reasons why the prices should be increased, although Samsung and others maintained that increased sales of some types of motherboards were the reason. This proved to be untrue. On May 16, the department of Justice starts to investigate the anti trust allegations, as a consequence in October 2005 the verdict will come down on Samsung c.s. and the company will have to pay a record fine of 300 million USD.(33)

On 23 August 2002 a US judge rejected a claim by "Maz Technologies that they had, in 1998, obtained a fairly generic patent covering the encrypted storage of documents. (25)



 March 3, SCO announces it will sue IBM 1 billion US dollars.

The claim is that Linux contains code inserted by IBM that was the copywrited property of SCO. The company behaves like a Don Quijote in this respect and sues companies for their alledged company property. In the next few year SCO's major income will come from cases like this.

March 18, In Kodiakanal, India. Adam Osborne, the creator of the first portable computer, dies at 64.

April 18, Edgar (Ted) Codd, the mathematician and former IBM Fellow best known for creating the "relational" database model dies.


Mozilla Foundation is founded in July to oversee the open-source development of the Mozilla and Firefox browsers.

Ben Goodger is lead engineer. The first production version of the browser will be released in 2004



Casio Computer Co. unveiled a fuel-cell unit for a laptop PC that carries what the company calls a "micro reformer."

The company said it had succeeded in drastically reducing and miniaturizing components so that the reformer could be the size of a stamp. Casio's fuel-cell-powered laptop, which the company said would be introduced by early 2005, can power a laptop computer for as long as 20 hours, compared with four to five hours for a typical lithium-ion battery.

The Japanese News Agency Kyodo announces that the European Central Bank is looking at the possibility of embedding the world's smallest integrated circuit, developed by Hitachi, into notes to prevent counterfeiting of euros.

The World Wide Web Consortium announced its formal policy for ensuring that key Web technologies, even if patented, are made available on a royalty-free basis.

In a statement, the consortium said that the W3C Patent Policy is designed to reduce the threat that key components of Web infrastructure may be covered by patents which block further development.

The New York Times publishes a notice about the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Mike Showerman and Craig Steffen have built a supercomputer with components purchased at retail prices, with a cost a little more than $50,000. The center's researchers believe the system may be capable of a half trillion operations a second, well within the definition of supercomputer, and is built with 70 Sony's Play Station 2 game machines. The chip is not the PlayStation 2's MIPS microprocessor, but rather a graphics coprocessor known as the Emotion Engine. That custom designed silicon chip is capable of producing up to 6.5 billion mathematical operations a second. The system uses Linux and a high speed Hewlett-Packard Switch to connect them all.


Spam is e-mail that is not wanted, is one of the shortest definitions.

In this year Spam has become a serious nuisance and takes up more and more of the internet resources. So much so that universities are creating a new, and more important, faster internet to get rid of this: Internet 2. This network will not be open to the public.
Up to 3 out of 10 emails of an average e-mail user is spam. For heavy users who have at least one reference to their e-mail address on one or more web sites receive 60-90% Spam in their mail box. Leaving one's true e-mail address on a newsgroup or forum assures you to even more Spam. Some times to almost 95-99% Spam, thus 1 out of 100 e-mails in your in-box is unsolicited e-mail.
The industry fights back in setting up anti Spam sites which are using Spam filters, setting up black lists of spam senders, servers, or proxies. And so on. The Spam filtering techniques are getting better but the Spammers too. A war is waging on the e-mail front!

Read on the history of spam


New life For Moore's Law

The progress has been staggering. In 1955, the annual production of transistors could be measured in the millions. In 2003, production came to around a quintillion, or a trillion million, Hutcheson said.

In 1954, the average price of a transistor cost $5.52. In 2004, the average cost was 191 nanodollars, or 191 billionths of a dollar.

Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research in http://news.com.com/ (28)



Jan - The Google search engine now indexes 3.3 bln (in fact, 3,307,998,701) WWW pages. The Google search engine continues to be the largest index on the web. (22)

'Junior’ or ‘the second’ was apparently too common for the son of American programmer Jon Blake Cusack.

His son is now named Jon Blake Cusack 2.0 is literally version 2."Jon Blake Cusack 2.0 has much in common with version 1.0, but got extra features from his mother Jamie", a proud father wrote in an e-mail to friends and family. (20)


250,000 computers launch Mydoom (1 Feb. 2004)

New York: The Mydoom computer virus causes 250,000 computers worldwide to bombard the web site of SCO Group Inc. in the largest of such electronic attacks. SCO Group, which is in a legal fight for control of the Unix operating system, shut down the site after the attack began, Blake Stowell, a spokesman for the Lyndon, Utah-based company, said. Mydoom first appeared a little over a week ago and spreads an e-mail attachment that makes computers send waves of requests to specified web sites. A second strain, dubbed Mydoom.B, is programmed to attack the site of Microsoft Corp. whose products run on about 95% of personal computers, on Feb 2nd. (30)
"We've never seen an attack with this many computers participating," said Mikko Hypponen, director of virus research with Helsinki-based F-Secure Oyj. "This kind of army of infected computers could accomplish far greater attacks than just bringing down a web site."
SCO took down its web site to prevent the attack from hurting its Internet service provider and slowing the Internet, Mr. Stowell said, rather than setting up an alternate web site. SCO Group is offering $US250,000 for information leading to the capture and conviction of the virus' author. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is also offering a $US250,000 reward.

Mydoom is spreading faster than last year's SoBig virus, which set up programs on infected computers in August to send mass mailings of unsolicited e-mail. A similar virus, the Blaster worm, targeted Microsoft's software-download site in August. That attack was averted when Microsoft took down the site. (21)

Something unique happened in March this year: creators of viruses wage a tug of war against each other!

A week long of insults embedded inside the virus code as comments, toward one of the others in ever new variants of the viruses: Netsky, Mydoom and Bagle. These three worms plagued the Internet starting the end of February. The newest variant Netsky.K announces to stop this war of words and to stop with spreading new versions. Many e-mail recipients will take a breath of relieve.

Spam takes up more than 33% of e-mail traffic and this number is growing fast.

Also rising is the general concern that spam will kill e-mail as it is used in this year: free to use without practical limitations.
This realization expresses it selves on March 12, 2004. A ISP provider in the Netherlands XS4ALL has won a Supreme Court's case against a spammer to block all spam from its servers. Judges ruled that freedom of expression as carried by the spammer AbFab, under weighed the economic damage caused by spam in using XS4ALL's computer capacity, bandwidth and customers data. Now spam can be blocked on all ISP's, at least in the Netherlands. (23) A few days after the ruling XS4All is warning spammers via a newspaper ad not to send any spam.
In Singapore government is also willing to fight spam with more stringent regulations and bylaws. If this is a trend only a few pockets on the world will be free for spammers to operate from. These can be easily controlled by blocking anything that comes from these locations. Possibly governments are going to use what the Chinese and other governments have done by means of content filters on the Internet.

So far legislation is feeble, favoring businesses above the users receiving the annoying e-mail. This is not helping at all but legislators obviously do not want to make a strong case against spammers in saying to protect free and open markets. In most countries Spam lobbies appear to be stronger than the general public's wish to get rid of this unwanted e-mail.

Read on the history of spam
By some estimates, there are more than 650 million PCs in use around the world.

Approximately over 1 billion have been sold. If all PCs would be turned on and burning 200 watts during the day some 100 km2 area of 100watt bulbs would lit up; clearly visible from Mars and beyond.

IBM sponsors a grid analog to that of SETI.

Each idle PC is a potential participant in the IBM sponsored World Community Grid. The so called "Grid computing" is a rapidly emerging technology that can bring together the collective power of thousands or millions of individual computers to create a giant "virtual" system with massive computational strength. The latest supers are also, when liberally interpreted, build around the Grid technology Most Grids in this virtual setup will provide processing power far in excess of the world's largest conventional supercomputers. (26)

20040ctOctober; Google Book project announced

During the Frankfurter Buchmesse (Germany) a team of Google researchers announce the Google Book project. Initially called Google Print. The team started their research in 2002 reviving the original idea that created Google: to index all library books and make it accessible to anyone via a search engine. The project started with academic libraries in 5 different countries whom were willing to cooperate. In later years publishers and authors will object to the project and many of them will refuse to settle an agreement. Often ending in court to protect their intellectual rights.

This project is not unique. Such as there are the Library of Congress's American Memory project, Project Gutenberg, the Million Book Project and the Universal Library. The difference is that Google's project is on a much larger scale, wants their contents to be available to the world, above all has the funds to pull that off, and is really innovative in terms of scanning speed and indexing. (34)

December 5, IBM Corp. sells most of its personal computer business to China's Lenovo Group, many pundits proclaim it to be the end of an era for Big Blue. (27)

April 14, After Microsoft threatens, Lindows changes it's name to Linspire. Lindows is meant to be a replacement for MSWindows with a Linux kernel. (29)

First virus for mobile phones "Cabir" appears.

The risk of large scale infection is small since Cabir only spreads over apr. 10 meters through Bluetooth connections to other similar phones running on the Simbian operating system. The virus can also be hidden in games or other applications that have been downloaded. Cabir causes a drain on the battery but is easy to detect and remove.



December 20, Google is launching a program called "Google Print" in cooperation with a number of research libraries in the U.S. and the U.K.aimed at ultimately scanning all the books in their collections. (31)

The result of the multiple-year project would be an online digital library of what could number as many as 30 million volumes. The program will encompass books in and out of print, in copyright, and in the public domain—all available for full-text searching and, for the public domain items, full-image viewing. Participants in the program are the libraries of Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and Oxford University, as well as the New York Public Library (NYPL).(32)



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Last Updated on March 25, 2011 For suggestions please mail the editors 

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