Happy Birthday, Internet!

Oct292013

What’s the population of Singapore? How many species of salmon are there in the world? Who won the gold medal for men’s downhill skiing in the 1994 Olympic Winter Games? Answers to these questions along with an infinite amount of other information are now easily available to a majority of the world’s fingertips thanks to something that happened 44 years ago today. That’s when two computers, one at UCLA and one at the Stanford Research Institute, connected over ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) to exchange the world’s first “host-to-host” message. This rather inauspicious event is viewed by many as the birth of a technology that became a communication tool now used by billions of people around the world every day. Of course, I’m talking about the Internet.

The Internet has come a long way since those early days. The slow, wired 56 kbit/s connections of the 90s (remember this sound?) have evolved into today’s blazing fast WiFi and 4G wireless technologies. Easy access to broadband Internet has enabled a digital lifestyle that 20 years ago was a mere fantasy. Nowadays the Internet is where we go to shop, learn, entertain ourselves, socialize and stay informed about what’s happening in the world. And as we continue to connect more devices to the Internet, the impact of this technology on our daily lives will become even more profound than it is today.

As the Internet has grown, the semiconductor industry has been racing to provide the digital processing and storage needed to accommodate that growth. The computers and mobile devices people use to connect to the Internet, and the massive data centers enterprises use to store the billions of gigabytes of data we create are major consumers of semiconductor technology. These applications are also major catalysts for semiconductor technology innovation.

For example, recent developments in 3D architectures for use in NAND flash memory will enable consumers to store more and more data on a mobile device. Elsewhere, innovations in precision materials engineering are allowing mobile processors to deliver multi-GHz level performance with lower power consumption so mobile device users can surf the Internet and run their favorites apps longer between battery charges. These advancements have also contributed to the rise of Big Data where memory and logic semiconductor technologies are being leveraged in the data center to help store and analyze data in real-time.

To illustrate what a significant role the Internet plays in our lives, we’ve put together the infographic below to highlight some interesting facts about Internet use and mobile connectivity.

Click image to enlarge.

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