Human-level CPU power crossover date

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 15:37:13 MDT

My rough estimate of human-level cpu power is
10^11 neurons x 10^4 synapses x 100 Hz = 10^17 bits/s
= 3000 Tflops.

This chart from the list of top 500 supercomputers
in the world shows some interesting trends:

(1) The sum of the computing power of all top 500
supercomputers put together is about 100 Tflops, and
has been increasing by a factor of 10 every 4 years.
The combined power of these machines is already
equal to Moravec's estimate of a human brain's power.
To reach my estimate will take 6 years more.

(2) The 500th supercomputer on the list (which an
AI research institute might reasonably expect to
eventually own) lags the sum of the top 500 by a
factor of about 2000, which represents a 13 year

(3) Go back another 6 years, and the #500 computer
in the world is equal to a current desktop PC.
So by Moravec's estimate, in 2020 you will have
human level power in a PC. By my estimate make
that 2026. This is based on just extrapolating
from the chart.

(4) If you assume you can harness a quarter million
PC's as in a SETI@home type project, and the average
PC has 400 Mflop extractable power, then that would
add up to about 100 TFlops. That's about equal to
the top 500 supercomputers put together. I think
you would have more of a chance to harness the PC's
than to get all the supercomputers working on your
project. So if you are trying to get to a super-
intelligence early, it would be good to look at
a distributed computation model.


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