Here are pointers to some key sources that indicate the rate of change for some core technologies and usage patterns:

  • CPU-capacity/chip complexity has since 1965 followed the empical pattern that is expressed in Moore's Law (see, for instance, original article in Electronics (38:8) (pdf), this comment by Haim Mendelson and/or Wikipedia). The original “law” said that capacity doubles every 12 months (i.e. an annual increase of 100 %). In 1975, Moore revised his prediction to say that numbers of transistor on a VLSI chip doubles every 24 months (i.e. an annual increase of 41 %). The most often quoted figure in media today is doubling every 18 months (i.e. an annual increase of 59 %).
  • Energy consumption, expressed in computations per kWh has, according to Koomey's Law, improved at a rate of doubling every 18 months. I.e. energy consumption stays constant as CPU-capacity increases.
  • Bandwidth is said to trend according to Edholm's Law (pdf). His graph shows an 28 % annual increase for wireline bandwith, and about 60 % annual increase for nomadic and wireless bandwidth, indicating that the two will be the same around 2030.
  • Storage capacity is discussed in the Wikipedia article on Moore's Law, in this article and this (somewhat inaccurate) article in Scientific American (August 2005). Historically, the annual increase has been around 60 %, but recently, this has dropped to around 40 %
  • The number of domains registrations in generic TLDs are continiously kept updated at DomainTools.com.
  • The number of Internet users are discussed in my paper on adoption rates (TIS 19:2)

See also: IDC white paper: The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010.


Thanks for a fine list!!

Smaller, faster – and larger and slower. It would be nice to see some visualisations of these changes – and to play with the “data” in order to understand more of where we are – and where we are going.

Wirth's Law.

What about adding this to your list?
Wirth's law: ”Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.”

At least it has puzzled me that many applications are loading and working slower today than 7-8 years ago (even my brand new cell phone is slower to open and operate it's simple todo list application than my 4 year old cell is!).

More at Wikipedia.