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Moore’s law and procrastination – The Dorrington Paradox

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on December 9, 2006

Warning: Not automotive related.

Perhaps you are familiar with Moore’s law. Briefly, it says that the computer processing power available to users will roughly double every eighteen months.

This brings up an interesting point: for sufficiently difficult computational problems, the fastest way to solve them is to do nothing. At least initially. I call this the Dorrington Paradox.

Say, for instance, you have a particularly difficult computational problem. Using the fastest processors you can afford, this problem will take three years to solve. If you do nothing at all for 18 months and then buy the fastest processors you can afford, you will still solve the problem at the same time, since the processors will be twice as fast.

Now what if the problem would have initially taken ten years? Wait 18 months and the total time to problem solution is 6.5 years. Wait three years and it’s done in 5.5 years.

Sometimes it pays to procrastinate.

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