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Monday, August 01, 2005

The terrifying beauty of exponential growth

Via Gene Expression:



The dark-blue plot indicates Kurzweil/Moore's Law: it describes the doubling of computer instructions per second per US dollar (IPS/US $) that has been occurring approximately every 18 months since 1900. The magenta plot indicates an exponential growth in the number of base pairs of accurate DNA sequence per unit cost (bp/US $) as a function of time. To some extent, the doubling time for DNA mimics the IPS/US $ curve because it is dependent on it. An even steeper segment occurs in the orange curve; this depicts the number of web sites (doubling time of four months) and shows how quickly a technology can explode when a protocol that can be shared spreads through an existing infrastructure. The turquoise plot is an 'Open Source' case study of 'FLUORESCENT IN SITU SEQUENCING' with polonies (see main text for details of this DNA-sequencing technology) in bp/min on simple test templates (doubling time of one month).

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