Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Quarter of the Way to Alpha Centauri

While transferring some files from a computer in my schools onto my network drive (Rutgers University gives all its students a space to store information on there server), I decided to check how much space Rutgers gives us. I got a number that sounded kind of high, so I checked again and it was correct. Count them: ONE-HUNDRED GIGABYTES. Now after I made this discovery I decided to figure out how much memory space Rutgers has to have for their students. I went to the Rutgers registrar’s website, and I got my self this piece of information in the 2005-2006 fall semester there where exactly 50,016 students. I say exactly because they didn’t tell me 50,000 students they told me 50,016 (as a side note I wonder what the name of the 50,016th students name is, maybe Zxqur Zzqiuort).
So in case you cannot do the math, Rutgers University has to save 5.37042711x1015 bytes, which is 5.24455772x1012 Kilobytes, that is 5121638400 Megabytes, that is 5001600 Gigabytes, that is 4884.375 Terabytes, this is of course 4.76989746 Petabytes, but you all knew that. This doesn’t look to impressive in the Zettabytes and Yottabytes scale (approximately 4.5x10-6, and 4.4x10-9 respectively) however as I don’t think anyone has hear of Peta, Zetta, and Yotta Bytes so it doesn’t matter. For those of you who are reading this, and are not a geeks, I will give you a sense of perspective: If you take an average height of a Homo Sapiens (Human) (1.69 meters) for every Byte and line them up head to tail it would be 9.07602182x1015 meters (if you are so out of the loop as to not understand scientific notation this number = 9,076,021,820,000,000 meters) this is about 30335 round trips to the sun from earth (for the geeks: 60669.4061 AU). As a side note if you line up all 50,016 Rutgers students in a line, head to toe, you will have a whole lot of angry college students and a line 85 kilometers long (just 15 kilometers short of the agreed international boundary to space, so no - you can't gamble yet).


  1. Sorry to rain on your parade, but I don't think each student gets 100 gigabytes. I just checked with rutgers , and it seems we get a mere 60 Megabytes, which differs from your estimate by about 4 orders of magnitude. Kinda a rippoff, isn't it.

  2. I will take a screen shot of the drive information to proove you wrong (no photoshopping)

  3. Well we were both wrong. It's not 60 megabytes, but it's no 100 gig either. According to Colonel Henry, and who can argue with a Colonel, students get 200 Megabytes which differ from your estimate by only 3 orders of magnitude.

    I will forward the proof to you.