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Seven Wonders of the IT World 170

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the random-stats dept.
C.G. Lynch writes "The computer closest to the North Pole. The most intriguing data center. The biggest scientific computing grid. The little kernel that rocked the world. CIO.com has compiled a list of Seven Wonders of the IT World, some of the most impressive and unusual systems on the planet (and beyond)."
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Seven Wonders of the IT World

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:26PM (#20545065) Homepage Journal
    From the linked list:Secrecy level: High. Two reporters from the local newspaper are the only media who've been inside the compound and written about it (See "Inside the World of Google"): Google treats any and all details as though they belong to the National Security Agency.

    Well.... I know they were trying to be funny, but the authors could be more correct that they might have known given the history of Google (startup partially funded by CIA $$s) and how tight they are with NGIA [nga.mil] (Google Earth [google.com] projects), CIA [cia.gov] etc..., it would not surprise me to see Google working intimately with NSA [nsa.gov]. After all, Google has been competing with NSA for PhD mathematicians for some time now (and winning) and it seems like a natural fit. Of course such a "hypothetical" collaboration would raise all sorts of ethical questions, but assuming one could appropriately compartmentalize those concerns, it could certainly be mutually beneficial.

    Personally, I'd like to think that this little project [utah.edu] (when complete) will certainly contribute to the creation of one or more of the Seven Wonders of the IT world. After all, we all have little wetware parallel supercomputers sitting in the backs of our eyes that can process massive amounts of data, pre-encode it, filter it and more all while dealing with a certain level of data corruption, particularly in disease.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google has in the past had jobs available that required national security clearance.
      • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:48PM (#20545323) Homepage Journal
        Google has in the past had jobs available that required national security clearance.

        Sure, but a security clearance can apply to lots of types of data and a diverse group of companies and government agencies. Everything from a basic collateral "secret" clearance (relatively easy to obtain) to "top secret" and compartmentalized programs are being worked on and participated in by people from not just government, but also a number of private companies. No big deal and I would certainly expect Google to have a significant number of folks possessing those clearances.

    • by rk (6314) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:42PM (#20545249) Journal

      "After all, Google has been competing with NSA for PhD mathematicians for some time now (and winning) and it seems like a natural fit."

      If only the NSA would offer stock options and a splashy IPO, I'll bet they could get some of those candidates back.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        The entire US government should IPO in chunks. Really, shareholding is a much more accurate form of representation that what we have now, and would allow corporations to actually and clearly own and control the state instead of doing so tacitly.

        I mean, it just makes sense.
    • by blhack (921171) *
      On google being top secret about some things; Aren't they required to disclose everything, and I mean EVERYTHING down to how much they spent on every light bulb in the bathroom on the 3rd floor as a part of the SEC filings?

      Isn't this exactly the reason that a lot of companies are taking themselves private again lately, disclosing everything is a HUGE hassle.
  • Polar Photography (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:28PM (#20545085) Homepage Journal
    Semi-off-topic, but Webcam #1 at the north pole reminded me: on Friday the Astronomy Picture of the Day posted a multiple-exposure image of last month's lunar eclipse [nasa.gov] as seen from the south pole. Not an IT-specific wonder, but still seriously impressive, when you think about it, that we've actually got people near the south pole who are in a position to take photos like this.

    And hey, for once I can use the term "polar opposite" and know that it's literally true!
    • Operating temperature: From a chilly minus 40 degrees F to a balmy 120 degrees F.

      That was the most impressive thing to me. I had no idea that it gets up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit at the north pole. And I thought our string of 100+ degree F days this summer was bad!

      • by blhack (921171) *
        that is the operating temperature for the camera, not the actual temperature at the north pole...at least i hope....maybe i need to start riding my bike to work!
        • Maybe it's the temperature achieved in the inside of the camera enclosure since it receives direct sunlight for months on end. Maybe it's 30 degrees outside, and 120 inside after baking for that long.
    • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
      That's a fantastic picture, thanks. I'm fairly sure Antarctica is populated all year round. It is far easier to get to than the ISS, and I'm sure most scientists would feel a similar thrill staying at either one.

      So I checked, and according to the Australian Antarctic Division [aad.gov.au]:

      No more than a few thousand in the height of summer, going down to hundreds over winter. The most populous antarctic centre is McMurdo Base on Ross Island, south of New Zealand, operated by the United States. Australia's four stations have winter-time populations totalling around 80 in winter, rising to perhaps 200 in summer. In addition, marine scientists spend a lot of time on research boats in the Southern Ocean during the summer months.

      So there you have it. Thanks again for the pic, and don't fret, APOD is never off-topic!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Steve "Monkeyboy" Ballmer and his Flying Chair Routine.
  • by COMON$ (806135) * on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:38PM (#20545199) Journal
    I dont know about other slashdotters but I was rather unimpressed with the 7 wonders of the IT world. Not much on there in the way of impressive other than my boy blue. What about impressive symbolic marvels like The Teapot [computerhistory.org] which were the icons of modern Graphics shaping science and technology. Or code that drives technology like C++ or Perl, or dare I even say it, BASIC. These current wonders are very temporary whereas the original wonders are a bit more timeless, more representative of human innovation than just something that looks cool.
    • Agreed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mbeans (1082073)
      The lamest one was "small computer that runs Vista".
    • Storm brewing? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:49PM (#20545343) Journal
      Disappointed, too.

      But only because they missed something I think should apply - the Storm Trojan network. I mean, come on! Arguably the world's most powerful centrally-controlled computing resource, and it's all comprised of horked computers? How is that not a wonder?

      You should hate its existence. But it's still quite amazing.
      • by khallow (566160)

        My feeling on the matter is that there should be some permanence to the achievement. The Storm Trojan network is merely the latest stage and it's being used (AFAIK) for spam and maybe cracking encryption. Will it be around in ten years or a century? Will it mark an acheivement that holds up well even when more capable worm network systems come around? I don't think so.

        In comparison, I think the SETI@HOME project has some potential for being a "wonder". Inspiring purpose, pervasive reach, and was an early

        • I agree with you. Storm Trojan hasn't yet shown its true power and when it does, lets see how long it lasts... SETI@HOME is a grear project, but does not have the huge computing power of the EGEE but is quite similar... So the fact that they included *one* Grid project is a good start! :) -- Honestly, I had that adrenaline rush when I thought "but would they count the Grid as a wonder?!" and was quite relieved to see it on the list -- Not that the list matters, I suppose... (It also probably means, I sh
    • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:51PM (#20545359) Journal
      I dont know about other slashdotters but I was rather unimpressed with the 7 wonders of the IT world

      I agree. My name isn't on the list ANYWHERE!!! Geez, come on, people!

    • by khallow (566160)
      Voyager One won't continue functioning for much longer, but as a piece of space junk it'll outlast the Pyramids. That puts it solidly in Wonder of the World material.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Culture20 (968837)
        It might outlast Earth.
        • It might outlast Earth.

          Repeat after me:

          Matter cannot be created nor destroyed.

          Matter cannot be created nor destroyed.

          Matter cannot be created nor destroyed.

          Your "We're destroying the earth!" is not merely run-of-the-mill religious global destruction fantasy. It's also inherently un-scientific and thus qualifies as FUD. Ditch that bullshit!
          • by khallow (566160)

            Matter cannot be created nor destroyed.

            Actually it can. An electron and positron can collide to form gamma rays. There you go from having matter (the mass of the positron is the samee as the electron) to having no mass. Similarly, a sufficiently powerful gamma can spontaneously spin off particle anti-particle pairs, losing energy in the process.

            So more accurately, mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed.

            Then as the other replier notes, the Earth is not mass/energy, it is a lable for an aggregatio

      • Agreed: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday September 10, 2007 @07:40PM (#20546461) Journal
        Considering that both Voyagers each carry a mechanical device and a gold disk that bears lots of rich data about Earth and Humanity, I'd say that the best damned Backup/DR data storage effort we've made so far in the history of mankind.

        /P

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Runefox (905204)
          And, taking into account some of the concepts of RFC 1149 [wikipedia.org], we can reasonably assume that Voyager's data transfer to whoever/whatever/if anything receives it should be infinitely faster and higher-volume than anything we can even imagine.
        • by master_p (608214)
          But the data on it are horribly outdated! our world has changed so much since Voyager was launched.

          Personally, If I was to launch a new spacecraft for this reason, I would put all versions of Microsoft Windows on it. Best security for Earth ever. No aliens will dare to come over here!!!
      • by cashman73 (855518)
        I'd be interested to know how often, if at all, the "V-Ger" computer has been rebooted,... It's hard to imagine having to push the reset button from millions of miles away, but I suppose they've probably already figured it out,... Still, if the voyager probes were running windows, they wouldn't even have gotten out of LEO without crashing! ;-)
      • by Phisbut (761268)

        Voyager One won't continue functioning for much longer, but as a piece of space junk it'll outlast the Pyramids. That puts it solidly in Wonder of the World material.

        A wonder it may be, but it is now so far away (and keeps getting further) that I truly doubt we can consider it part of our world anymore. At least the pyramids are still part of the planet we live on.

        • by khallow (566160)
          I thought about that, but there's no reason the "world" of IT has to correspond to the physical boundaries of the real world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rm999 (775449)
      I was amazed the internet wasn't on the list. Maybe I misunderstood what the rules of the list?
    • I would've liked to see TCP/IP up there.

  • by ShatteredArm (1123533) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:39PM (#20545221)

    WOW! A small really small computer runs Vista! This is groundbreaking!

    Seriously, though, the only "wonderous" things on there were the Voyager and the supercomputer. Most of the other stuff is not the most groundbreaking or superlative for its kind out there. I thought the idea of a "wonder" was something that we can only try and imagine how they managed to do it or how they came up with the idea.

    • by click2005 (921437)
      Seriously, though, the only "wonderous" things on there were the Voyager and the supercomputer.

      I agree although I wouldn't even class the supercomputer as that impressive. Its not like any number of large companies/organisations couldn't build something bigger/faster/better if they really wanted to (the NSA probably has). The Voyager computer is the only one that will still be impressive in 5 years.

      I would think wonders of the world would be something that would still be considered impressive to a later
  • The 7 Wonders of 7 Wonders Lists

    Really- is there any more tired and lame excuse to grab eyeballs out there? Please, lets end these.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree...

      So I'm compiling a top ten list of reasons to stop making 7 Wonders of the world lists

      1. Wasted bandwidth
      2. They're only for pageview whores
      3. Most of the items are only 'wondrous' because people wonder why the hell its on the list.
      4. If anything really is that wondrous, humans will probably destroy it.
      5. Google will sell the #1 spot to someone else.
      6. I.T. is moving so fast that in a few months, most will be obsolete.

      thats as far as I got.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        I agree...

        So I'm compiling a top ten list of reasons to stop making 7 Wonders of the world lists

        1. Wasted bandwidth
        2. They're only for pageview whores
        3. Most of the items are only 'wondrous' because people wonder why the hell its on the list.
        4. If anything really is that wondrous, humans will probably destroy it.
        5. Google will sell the #1 spot to someone else.
        6. I.T. is moving so fast that in a few months, most will be obsolete.

        thats as far as I got.

        Ok, I'll finish it for you:

        7. It will suffer from the Slashdot effect.
        8. Most Slashdot posters won't read it anyway.
        9. ???
        10. Profit!

        • by Kjella (173770)
          7. It will suffer from the Slashdot effect.
          8. Most Slashdot posters won't read it anyway.


          Now imagine if everyone actually RTFA for once...
  • >1. North Pole webcam >Operating temperature: From a chilly minus 40 degrees F to a balmy 120 degrees F.
    How can it get to 120F in North Pole?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmauro (32523)
      Webcam's rated temperature, not the temperature at the North Pole. I'm also quite sad it get's "disposed" of every year by letting it sink to the bottom. That kind of sucks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      That's when Chuck Norris tracks fugitives there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      It can't be 120F in North Pole, it is outside US. If something it would be 49C.
  • For the most part, the list is unimpressive. Voyager is hardly "IT," wonder that it is. The whole story reeks of that article from Copyblogger about which headlines get the most Diggs.
    • Voyager is hardly "IT," wonder that it is.

      I was also not impressed and that was my initial reaction too...but then I thought. Is the impressive thing that we shot a tin can out of the solar system or that it can tell us what it is seeing out there? I think it is really the latter so it really is a information technology marvel in the most basic sense of the term.
  • Voyager 1 is not IT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:44PM (#20545275) Homepage
    Voyager 1 launched in 1977, about a dozen years prior to the coining of the term "information technology".

    There is a deeper, underlying beef here. IT is about boring business data and came to dominate an industry that previously was the domain of science (often but obviously not always for military purposes). CIO is trying to make its readers feel good about themselves by co-opting non-business domains of computer use.

    • I don't see why Voyager 1 doesn't count as IT. It is a piece of technology and it receives commands and returns information on command.

      Oxford English Dictionary:

      information technology (abbr.: IT)
      noun
      the study or use of systems (esp. computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.

      Though I find it funny that the V1 picture was captioned as: "NASA's Voyager satellite computes at the edge of space as we know it".

      Voyager 1 is not a satellite, it's not in any specific orbit u
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Information Technology [tiscali.co.uk]
      Collective term for the various technologies involved in processing and transmitting information. They include computing, telecommunications, and microelectronics. The term became popular in the UK after the Government's Information Technology Year in 1972.
      • After doing some Google searches, I'm pretty sure that the "Information Technology Year" was really 1982, not 1972.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      From the article I pretty much got the impression that it was meant to make CIO's think they actually understand IT by making it seem like some things they probably DO understand are the pinnacle of IT. It's basically meant to make CIO's feel good about reading the articles.

      Personally I found the north-pole thing interresting but lost interrest soon after that. The sheer lack of details and facts is appaling. They provide no good reasons for most of the "wonders" they picked. Is the Google datacenter really
  • 1. Webcam #1
    2. Voyager 1
    3. Google's Datacenter
    4. EGEE-II
    5. Blue Gene/L
    6. OQO
    7. Linux kernel
  • Juniper (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Voyager 1: "Places it's dropped by: Juniper and Saturn"
    • by tholomyes (610627)
      Hey, if the Voyager's the first one there, it can call it whatever it wants!

      (I noticed that too, though.)
  • Wonder #8 (Score:4, Funny)

    by turgid (580780) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:46PM (#20545305) Journal

    Why anyone pays money for anything from IBM, Microsoft. Oracle or MySQL AB.

  • by Red Jesus (962106) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:51PM (#20545355)

    Biggest Paradigm Change in Enterprise Software: Linux kernel

    Don't get me wrong: I love Linus and I love Linux. But don't forget what RMS likes to remind us at every opportunity: Linux is part of the GNU system. And GNU predated Linux by a long shot.

    Stallman started the GNU project in 1983 and founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985. The Linux kernel appeared in 1991. Where did Torvalds get his compiler? Where did Torvalds get his editor? Where did Torvalds find people to work on his kernel? I understand that it can be pedantic to argue about big, abstract ideas like ``When did the paradigm shift really happen?'' Maybe the paradigm didn't ``shift'' until the Linux kernel came out. But Torvalds wasn't out to change paradigms. Stallman was. If we're going to hail the concept of free software, we should acknowledge the alphabet soup of RMS, the FSF, GNU, ETC. that gave it legs to stand on.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:57PM (#20545417)
      Maybe the paradigm didn't ``shift'' until the Linux kernel came out. But Torvalds wasn't out to change paradigms. Stallman was.

      Community development was Torvalds' innovation, not Stallman's. Prior to Linux, the FSF was a GPL cathedral cranking out utilities to run on Sun OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chyeld (713439)
      The straw that breaks the camel's back may just be one straw. It may not even be the heaviest or biggest straw. It may owe it's entire fame to all the straws that came before it.

      But it's still the straw that broke the camel's back. The first straw didn't, the straw just before the last straw didn't, just the one straw. The last straw.

      Thats the straw that gets remembered.

      How many people attempted to fly solo transatlantic before Charles? Can you name any, and if so, do you consider it an acheivement or a mat
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Red Jesus (962106)

        That isn't to belittle RMS or his works, but for all he put into it, it would have come to naught if Linus or someone else hadn't come along and given the final push.

        I guess I didn't make my point clear enough. Why was Linus even pushing at all? The FSF did more than write software. It fostered a community. It created a public license so folks wouldn't have to write their own. It established a list of goals: software that the GNU system sorely needed. Torvalds didn't come up with the paradigm of using open source software nor did he establish the basic rules by which open source projects would operate. The fact that his kernel was the last component to be written befo

        • by Braino420 (896819)
          I don't understand why you choose to only go back far enough to acknowledge RMS' contributions. What about before RMS? [wikipedia.org]

          The truth is, no one could do it alone. Anyway, to me it seems there was first a "paradigm shift" to proprietary software, and now free and open software is making a comeback.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      But don't forget what RMS likes to remind us at every opportunity: Linux is part of the GNU system

      Just because he has convinced a few newbies of this does not make it true. The hurd is part of the GNU system - linux is something else even if it does have glibc to talk to.

    • by o'reor (581921)
      Well, as far as embedded software development is concerned, the rise of the Linux kernel was a huge blow to existing embedded OS kernels.

      How many people still remember pSOS, VRTX, VxWorks (which was largely based on GNU development tools but with a proprietary real-time kernel) and a few others that were popular till the late 90s ? Of course, when you need a tiny, real-time kernel, Linux doesn't cut it yet, although that is also about to change.

      But on the whole, you now have countless Linux-based embedd

  • the biggest wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hguorbray (967940) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:53PM (#20545387)
    is that IT works at all considering that the stakeholders and implementers have little common ground or understanding or sympathy for the other.

    -I'm just sayin...
  • by tholomyes (610627) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:16PM (#20545629) Homepage

    TFA: "Pioneers knew The Dalles as the end of the Oregon trail."

    I was just in Seaside this weekend, and they had a big sign next to a statue of Lewis and Clark proclaiming that that was the end of the Oregon Trail... The oceanside makes more sense IMO.

  • I woulda thought that the core DNS servers.... the ones that keep the internet going, would have made the list. Without them, everyone would have to resort to numbers (which a lot of us here can do, but not the general public). Ya figure they do massive amounts of work, replying to millions of requests per minute, keep the internet going [which is critical to most developed nations economies]... yet didn't receive any attention here :( I'm all for NASA with the Voyager probe... but in all reality, its a sa
    • That's not that much load. Keep in mind that DNS is firstly distributed. So those servers receive only a minute portion of the total DNS load. And you can spread what they do get across a number of servers. The Google server farms are more impressive. They handle much higher loads, do significant data mining and processing, and cache some where around a billion or two webpages.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Google makes money with their farm, which makes it far less impressive to me. It takes some serious money and engineering to keep the various root server clusters up 24/7, and it's done basically by a volunteer community.

        They also do have a pretty remarkable amount of load, given how rarely they "ought" to be used.

        http://h.root-servers.org/128.63.2.53_2.html [root-servers.org]

        The H server averaged 5 megabytes/sec of inbound traffic over the last month. Given how small DNS queries are, that's an awful lot of queries! O

  • The guys over at Three Sixty Information Security [360is.com] have published the results of their analysis on 7 of the most popular security tools in common use [360is.com] by systems administrators. The articles examines the tools on their merits and attempts to pull together common threads running through each. Finally they put forward their answer to the question "What makes this software so uncommonly good?"

    NH

    • NASA's Deep Space Network - the Voyager spacecraft still function because of this.
    • The Granite Mountain Record Vault [longnow.org] at Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Maintained by the Church of Latter Day Saints.
    • Google's server farms. I believe they got that one correct.
    • SETI@HOME - my "grid computing" example
    • Linux OS/GNU tools. Got that one partially correct.
    • the US's early warning system for detecting nuclear explosions, missile launches, etc.
    • by grumling (94709)
      Yea, the DEW network was an amazing thing for the day... The first application of real time computing, and networked RADAR installations as well! SABRE was the next big commercial system, if you believe IBM.
  • OQO? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ynososiduts (1064782)
    What is that doing in the mix with Google, Blue Gene, and Voyager. It's not even useful. It's too small to be used as a regular office PC, and too large to be a bring everywhere gadget. It should be replaced with like, Ethernet or something similar.
  • New 7 Wonders (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dm0527 (975468)
    I was also disappointed by the list. Mostly because of content, but also because it contained a link to the New 7 Wonders [new7wonders.com] website, which has simply got to be a joke. A list that some place put together to "represent global heritage throughout history" and the pyramids at Giza was simply a runner up?!?!? How lame do you have to be to put together a "seven wonders of the world" list where the pyramids don't warrant a place on the list, especially considering that they're the only thing still around from th

  • They list The Dalles Data Center as one of the 7 wonders in the IT world, but they admit themselves that they have no idea what's inside of it? Those warehouses may be full of hay, for all we know. The design of it may be terrible and inefficient, even if it has servers. It's a pretty cheeky thing to claim on zero evidence.

    Which is only par for the course. That was one of the worst signal-to-noise ratios of any news site, besides, oh, the last time /. linked to a CIO World article. Seriously, can we
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)


      in fact the story on /. was probably from a shill for them in the first place

      In fact, it absolutely was. Check the guy's email address on the linked submission; it goes to @cio.com; and the article was written by the same user. Please. I know it's was a fad and is now passe to complain about the editors on /., but can we have some more review of the articles that are posted than this? Not linking to the same domain as the submitter's email address would be start, especially if that's coupled with a
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      They list The Dalles Data Center as one of the 7 wonders in the IT world, but they admit themselves that they have no idea what's inside of it?

      Well, to be fair, we're not really sure what's inside the great pyramid, either, . . . or what the Sphinx does?

  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:16PM (#20547899) Journal
    How can you possibly put together a list of the IT wonders of the world with out including the world wide web - especially when you put the article on a website!
  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @12:47AM (#20548969)

    "Number of servers: Google's mum."

    The correct phrase is "keeping mum".

    "Google's mum" is what you would say when implying intimate knowledge of Mrs Google, or perhaps her tendency to wear sturdy footwear.

  • The Seti@Home project. Registered in the Guiness Book of Records as the largest computation ever made.
  • http://www.cio.com/article/print/135700 [cio.com]

    For those who also hate paging through an article at the speed of advertising.

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