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ScienceShot: Now That's a Big Number

Jennifer covers palaeontology, evolutionary biology, and science policy from the UK and Canada.

Worried about having enough hard drive space to store all of your holiday pictures? Just be glad you don't have to cope with the 9.57 zettabytes—that's 9,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes—of information that the world's 27 million business computer servers process each year. If you divided 9.57 zettabytes among the 3.18 billion workers that make up today's global labor force, then each person would receive around 3 terabytes of information per year. That's enough to fill the largest external hard drive three times over. What's most worrying is that this number will likely double every 2 years, according to researchers who presented their estimates at a conference for data storage professionals in the United States in Santa Clara, California, today. Might be time for a reformat.

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Posted in Math