Computational Power

Clearly, the need to deal with these variations requires an enormous amount of computational power. This power has not been available until recent years. In 1965, the computer scientist Gordon E. Moore predicted that, because of the increasing sophistication with which transistors could be placed upon a circuit board, computational power was doubling approximately every two years. Moore's Law has continued to hold true until the first decade of the 21st century, although it is through different technologies that the improvements are made. The result is that modeling of the atmosphere with multiple, rapidly changing variables has become possible for the first time.

When a single computer is insufficient for computations required or the amount of data and observations collected, it is also now possible to use distributed networks of computers that use spare computing power to contribute to analyses over a comparatively lengthy period of time. Owing to the very high level of penetration of personal computers in Western societies, as well as cheap and reliable internet access, it is possible to use spare capacity on machines belonging to members of the public who are willing to subscribe to the scheme. This shows, among a number of other changes, that personal computers are now hugely more powerful devices than were available to even the most advanced scientific researchers just a few years ago.

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