JimPinto Article : Inflection Point

J

Thread Starter

Jim Pinto

Automation Listers :

My new article : Scarcity & Abundance - The Inflection Point as published in Industrial Controls Intelligence & Plant Systems Report,
December 2000, is on the web at :
http://www.jimpinto.com/writings/inflection.html

Previous topics - "Automation in Decline" and "Companies in Trouble" - generated a lot of debate and discussion on this List. On that theme, rather than simply being the reporter of
recession, I would prefer to present a path to renewed industrial automation success. This new article reviews the possibilities within a larger perspective.

Abundances and scarcities play out in a spiral of reciprocity, with each producing its opposite in the cycles of economic advance. The inflection point is where significant growth and wealth is generated for leaders who utilizes knowledge and
creativity to manipulate the future abundance while it is still a scarcity.

For industrial automation, several new inflection points will arrive in the next couple of decades.
Here, I suggest my favorite possibilities.

Please take a look. And, I'll appreciate your comments and feedback, and perhaps some stimulating good A-list discussion!

Cheers:
jim
----------/
Jim Pinto
email : [email protected]m
web: www.JimPinto.com
San Diego, CA., USA
----------/
 
R

R A Peterson

<<<A typical PC uses about one kW hour per year. So, the billion computers which are expected to be connected to the Internet over the next five
years each will consume as much electricity as the entire US economy does today. So, power - once an "abundance" - will become a "scarcity". >>>

http://www.jimpinto.com/writings/inflection.html

Quoting from Jim's missive reveals what appears to be a pretty substantial arithmatic error.

A typical PC must use far more then a kW-hour per year. Most PCs use 200 watts or so (typical monitors are 100 watts or more), or perhaps 1/5
Kw-hour per hour. Perhaps he meant 1 kW-hour per DAY.

How many kw-hours per day can a 600 megawatt plant put out? 600,000,000 watts X 24 hours = 14,400,000,000 watt-hrs or 14,400,000 kw-hr per day. At a billion kw-hrs per day just for these computers, we'd need seventy (70) 600 megawatt generating stations just to supply the power for these computers.

Unless MY math is screwed up. ;-)
 
W
No, your math isn't. In fact that is one of the main reasons for the power problems in the Northwest and California. When the persons of greenish political persuasion trashed the nuclear power industry, they didn't leave anywhere efficient or cost effective to get new electricity from...and now everybody has a computer (well, in my house there are four, but you all knew that I was strange).

Walt Boyes

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fax:801-749-7142
 
Ref - my article "Scarcity & Abundance - the inflection point":
http://www.jimpinto.com/writings/inflection.html

[email protected] wrote :

>Quoting from Jim's missive reveals what appears to be a pretty
>substantial arithmetic error.
>A typical PC must use far more then a kW-hour per year.

Jim Pinto responds :

Whoops !
I meant 1000 kWhours per year!
Thanks for catching the error !

The online article has been corrected, with some clarification to include peripherals and embedded Internet connections
- here is the corrected text:

"A typical PC uses about a thousand kW hours per year. The billion computers which are expected to be connected to the Internet over the next five years, together with peripherals and hundreds of billions of embedded chips, will consume as much electricity as the entire US economy does today. So, power - once an "abundance" - will become a "scarcity". "

Cheers:
jim
----------/
Jim Pinto
email : [email protected]
web: www.JimPinto.com
San Diego, CA., USA
----------/
 
My dimensional analysis I learned in High-School Chemistry and is one of the most useful bits of education that came out of high school makes me think we have too many units of measurement here. At least for my little brain.

Isn't it sufficient to say that if a PC consumes 200 watts on the average, a 600 megawatt plant can power: (600,000,000 watts/ 1 plant) times (1 pc / 200 watts) we arrive at 3,000,000 pc's / plant. So each plant generates power for 3
million pc's.

(1,000,000,000 pc's/world) times (1 plant/ 3,000,000 pc's) yields 333 plants
to
support the world's pc's.

But in retrospect it seems we weren't talking about all of them online at once.

Now looking back at the original post, Jim's Kw-hour per year of a device estimated to run at 200 watts would indicate each computer was run for 5 hours per year on the average. That does seem kinda light, so the supposition that was
supposed to be a daily rate seems reasonable.

Okay, now I see if we use that as a daily rate, we can take those

(333 plants / full day rate) times ( full day rate /24 hours) times ( 5 hours/actual day rate)

and come up with the approx. 70 plants/actual day rate Ralph came up with.

Same number via different routes!

(I started out this post thinking I was in disagreement... but after all this typing I'll post anyway...)


Rufus
 
W
>"A typical PC uses about a thousand kW hours per year.
>The billion computers which are expected to be connected
>to the Internet over the next five years, together with peripherals
>and hundreds of billions of embedded chips, will consume as much
>electricity as the entire US economy does today. So, power
>- once an "abundance" - will become a "scarcity". "

I don't know if this necessarily follows, for a couple of reasons:

1) Although Eisenhower's prediction of "nuclear power too cheap to meter" (ca. 1951) has certainly proven to be almost laughable, as Jim points out, necessity *is* the mother of invention. I don't want to start a debate about the pros and cons of nukes, but there are other power sources on the horizon.

2) These "billion computers" are hardly likely to be all PCs, at least the way we think of them. I think this figure includes PDAs, wireless appliances, home appliances....all sorts of different things that don't consume anywhere near this amount of power. The computer I'm using right now, for example, is a Dell Inspiron 7500 (650 MHz Pentium III). Although it's fully loaded, it only consumes about 70 watts under full load, much less on standby. This trend will certainly continue. And adding an internet connection to a refrigerator is hardly going to add much power draw to the device; if the appliance already has a microprocessor, the additional power consumption would be negligible.

Just a few thoughts before anybody panics and buys a genset ;^)

Willy Smith
 
These systems will be most of time in a "sleep mode". When running, home and office PC usually replaces some other electricity
driven device: you play PC game instead of watching TV, you do not need as strong ambient light for net surfing as you would choose
for reading. And so on.

Net addition of power consumption needs to be calculated.

Petr
 
J

Johan Bengtsson

Another point to perhaps be considered in cases like this:

Some houses (at least here in sweden) are heated by electricity (I think it is stupid, but that is my personal view of it). Those houses will not take any extra power at all during the cold seasons (ie almost the whole year) since the electricity needed for heating will decrease by the same amount as the computer uses.

This don't apply to hotter areas, where the opposite might happen instead (more electricity needed to cool down the house).

There is yet another thing: even if all computers are not on at the same time, you can not count on them being on evenly spread either.


/Johan Bengtsson

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S

Steve Walton

Greetings and Happy Holidays to all!

Jim Pinto's paper has prompted some thoughts:

Three ages are identified in his paper:

Agricultural Age
Industrial Age
Computer Age

I infer that the inflection point from agricultural to Industrial is the abundance of cheap power.

Furthermore, I infer that the inflection point from industrial to computer is the abundance of computing power (available through cheap silicon devices).

What is the next inflection point from the computer age to the next era?
More importantly, what will this next era be?

MEMS, Nanotechnology, and Complex adaptive systems strike me as being extensions of the computer era, not inflection points to the next major era.

I'd like to hear more about how these inflection points relate to the scarcity-abundance issue.

Thanks,

Steve Walton

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Stephen A. Walton
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WALTON Associates
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Steve Walton wrote : >Jim Pinto's paper has prompted some thoughts: >Three ages are identified in his paper: >Agricultural Age >Industrial Age >Computer Age >What is the next inflection point from the computer age to the next era? >More importantly, what will this next era be? Jim Pinto responds : According to George Gilder, the next inflection point is the age of bandwidth-abundance - where everything can be connected to everything high-speed. This is the age of Internet (information) access for everyone and everything. Cheers: jim ----------/ Jim Pinto email : [email protected] web: www.JimPinto.com San Diego, CA., USA ----------/
 
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