Compute power of a lizard.....

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by Nathan Hale, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Nathan Hale

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 28, 2011
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    Hi! I started reading a lot about SETI recently. ( Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) I listen to a lot of Seth shostak's talks and quiet often he has said that the "modern day computers have the compute power of a spider or a lizard".
    what exactly does this statement mean?
    my computer can solve calculus problems, trigonometry problems etc etc. Obviously the modern day computers can do much more than a lizard can even think of doing.
    So what exactly does it mean "modern day computers have the compute power of a lizard?"
    Thank you
     
  2. tom_s

    Member

    Jun 27, 2014
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    assumption

    seti are using other peoples computers from around the world to process very small pieces of signal information that has been collected over the years. the reason why is because they don't have computer(s) that are currently capable of processing all that information realtime. i would assume this is what SS is trying to infer
     
  3. Nathan Hale

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 28, 2011
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    I Facebook emailed Dr. Shostak himself and he replied saying this..........
    That's from work by Hans Morovic, at Carnegie Mellon. It refers to the number of operations per second, and of course it doesn't necessarily reflect intelligence, merely brain power! Computational power.
     
  4. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    I find these kind of comparisons a bit ridiculous, it's like comparing a mule and a hovercraft. Animal brains are simply not "computers" in the sense that we now commonly use the term, i.e. a digital-electronic device. Brains are fundamentally chemical, they get headaches and can be cured by paracetamol, can be affected by alcohol, coffee and other stimulants.

    But more importantly brains do not do "calculations". Mathematicians love to point out how many "calculations" you brain does when you are, say, catching a ball. But of course we all know that our brains are not doing any "calculations" or solving any equations to allow us to catch a ball. The brain is heuristic, we learn to catch though experience and we use the feed back loop provided by our eyes to home in on the ball. If we could calculate a trajectory we would be able to catch with our eyes closed.
     
    atferrari likes this.
  5. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    +1

    Comparisons, as metaphors, have a limit. This is a clear clase.
     
  6. tom_s

    Member

    Jun 27, 2014
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    /me likes your answer better, straight to the CASE :)
     
  7. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    when it comes to learning or doing new thngs, lizzards to have the edge. who ever heard of a computer doing abstract thinking? or pondering its own existance? or dreaming up algebra or calculus? computers are good and fast at what they are programmed to do usually by a person. how much memory would it take a lizzard to decide whether to climb up on a rock and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of its actions? what would a bare computer with no human assistance or programing do?
     
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