I found a nice paper by MSR here ftp://ftp.research.microsoft.com/pub/tr/TR-2007-146.pdf. It is about Bell's law of the life cycle of computer classes. Gordon Bell tries to find some kind of rules behind the development hardware has done over the past 50 years.
One statement really caught my attention:
"Nathan’s Law, also attributed to Bill Gates, explains software’s increasing demand for
1. Software is a gas. It expands to fill the container it is in.
2. Software grows until it becomes limited by Moore’s Law.
3. Software growth makes Moore’s Law possible through the demand it creates; and
4. Software is only limited by human ambition and expectation."
Not that this was new to me (I already blogged about it years ago ;-) but it shows some nice implications.
If 1 and 2 is true then Moore's law define the container in which software has to live. If 3 is true the software gas is under pressure and tries to bend its container therefor stretch Moore even further. And if 4 is true then there is no end to Moore's law (because 1 to 3 is true).
Thinking about this I was wondering if we should extend Moore's law in the way that not only number of transistors which directly translates into storage capabilities and processing power should be respected. Maybe we should think of systems here in a broader term. What if we define the system as the number of processors within reach (physical or logical connected). Then the internet would form a system, let's call it a Moore system. Since such a Moore system is the outer container for the software gas this has interesting implications.
Now one could argue that swarm intelligence is not reflected in this equation which would make it necessary to go even beyond the transistor counting thing...
Boy... I'll go back to my Business Report Excel sheets for now...