Pentium Threatens Planet

Madame Chairperson, Esteemed Members of this August Committee, Members of the House of Representatives, and Mr. Speaker of the House of Representatives: Thank you for allowing me to address you on this most urgent matter.

My name is Jeffery Adkins. I am a science teacher in California. Like my colleague of long ago, Hans Christian Oersted, I have stumbled upon a discovery so monumental it may have implications for the future course of our civilization. But you know that, or else you would not have invited me to speak to this special subcommittee and its observers.

Of course, many of you are familiar with Moore’s Law, but some of you are not, and hence I must begin by describing this rule. This rule was first stated by Gordon Moore, the cofounder of Intel, who observed that computer processing speeds have been roughly doubling every 18 months since the middle of the last century.

A little known but important corollary to Moore’s Law is that the energy density of the computer chip must increase at the same time, for what is electronic circuitry but a conduit for the motion of electrons. These electrons – the same ones which create static electricity when you scuff your feet across the floor – collide with atoms in the microscopic wires that carry them, causing friction and releasing heat. Thus, as a computer processor becomes more powerful, it must necessarily pump more electrons in an ever smaller space, because even the short distances electrons travel inside of computer chips introduce unwanted delays in computation.

Computer manufacturers have for years managed to keep up with Moore’s Law in much the same way the Russians successfully defended against the Germans in World War II: They traded space for time. Smaller spaces yielded shorter travel times, thus enabling faster computer chips.

I’m sorry to say to the distinguished representative from Washington State, there is no physical basis for hoping that smaller electrons may be found in the future. Yes, Madame Chairperson, I am about to come to the point, if I may be allowed to continue.

Thank you.

Now, the accompanying graphs show the progression of Moore’s Law for processing speeds (that’s the one on the left) and the graph on the right shows the corresponding increase in energy density (that’s the one on the right).

My discovery has to do with the energy density necessary to achieve processor speeds that will undoubtedly be sought in the next few years. The dashed line in both graphs represents data points which have not yet occurred.

Intel toasted bunny suitAccording to the graph, you can see that when processor speeds reach a minimum of a Petahertz – which is approximately 1000 times faster than today’s microprocessors on a typical Wintel PC – the energy density will require the output of a small electrical substation to power a single Pentium XIX chip.

Furthermore, the energy requirements in just 30 years will be such that a single home computer will require the energy output that is currently used by the entire state of Delaware. Within my lifetime, and within the lifetime of most of the members of this committee, the energy requirements will exceed the energy currently used in the entire states of Nevada, Oklahoma, and your home state of Washington State.

Focusing the amount of energy we are talking about – assuming it is even available to use – in such a small space, implemented in as many workstations as we typically employ today, will have several negative side effects.

The first of these is that the excess waste heat generated in the environment is certainly going to increase the rate of global warming; the calculations in appendix B of your handouts show that the temperature of the earth will rise 8° in the first month after the Pentium XIX is deployed, which will complete the melting of the polar ice caps and force the complete evacuation of most U.S. coastal cities.

This is a dramatic claim, but one that can be easily verified by any high school physics student.

However, and I am finally getting to the point, Madame Chairperson, energy has mass, which is a lesson we learned from Albert Einstein many years ago. The amount of energy concentrated in these Pentium XIX chips will be such that so many electrons will be squeezed into so small a space in the name of computing efficiency that a critical mass will result.

black hole, copyright NASANo, I do not mean such as occurs in a nuclear warhead. Instead, this is far, far worse. What happens when mass is squeezed to this degree, gravity can actually overwhelm the natural tendency that electrons have to repel each other. Essentially, a process which normally occurs in the centers of supernovae will be repeated in the center of the Pentium XIX chip: The center of the CPU will become a small black hole.

The density of a black hole is such that no material object can contain it, and upon activation, I estimate that the core of each Pentium chip will fall through the chip, the circuit board, and the chassis of the computer, gaining mass as it goes, eventually coming to rest at the center of the earth.

What happens then?

A small black hole – not to mention tens of millions of them, one generated by each power-up of the Pentium XIX chip – will eat our planet from the inside out, and within the space of several weeks the entire earth will be destroyed. I am not talking about radiation effects, gravitational tide effects, or other known side effects of black holes; I am merely including the mechanical stress on the earth as it literally eats itself from the inside – not to mention the time-warp effects as we fall into the black hole itself.

Madame Chairperson, esteemed committee members, we must stop this event before it occurs. I urge you not to approve the petition from the representative from Intel to allow development of this chip. It will surely bring an end to life as we know it, and an end to the American Way of Life.

At stake is not only our way of life, but of all human life on this planet – indeed the existence of the planet itself. Briefing papers have been inserted into your packets, with references and signatories from all the major universities not affiliated with Microsoft and Intel (both of them), judging them to be independent parties in this matter.

Are there any questions?

Yes, there is an alternative. Instead of building ever-faster computers to keep up with the computational demands placed upon them by the gaming community, I would suggest a strategy of increasing the efficiency and elegance of computer programs, which for the foreseeable future could more than compensate for increased processor speed, particularly in the Windows operating system PDQ. In fact, there is an alternative already available which uses orders of magnitude less energy than the current Pentium chip and which can provide a more than adequate computing experience.

No, I won’t need a power cord to power my portable computer. The battery is sufficient for several hours of computing, unlike the current thirty-three second battery lifetime of most Wintel portables and their accompanying liquid-nitrogen closed-loop multistage CPU coolant systems.

It’s called a Macintosh,* and I’ll be happy to demonstrate one for you during the break.

No, I’m sorry, you’ll have to take that up with the Justice Department, Madame.

Thank you for your time. Please consider these graphs as you make your decision. I yield the remainder of my time for the members to observe the demonstration.

Look, you can even hold this computer without fire-resistant gloves.

 * This was written in 2001, four years before Steve Jobs announced the Apple would move the Mac to Intel in 2006. One thing we have seen since 2005 is the rise of CPUs with two, three, four, six, eight, or more cores – as many as 24 in the 2.2 GHz Intel Xeon E7-8890 – a way of increasing processing power without using Petahartz processor speeds.

Keywords: #pentium #blackhole

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