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Oracle disk and the "personal petabyte"

Oracle Tips by Steve Karam

Nouto Souto has a fascinating blog entry titled "No Moore" where he discusses the concept of the "personal petabyte", a concept that says that the sum of all individual experience will fit in a petabyte of information, called the Personal Petabyte. 

"Anyone interested in this should check out the research carried out by Jim Gray of Microsoft. In one of his papers he proposes that the entire life history of a human being can be contained in a Petabyte (PB) of data - he calls it the "Personal Petabyte".

Read it, it's very interesting and I believe he is 100% right. We are heading fast into a world where it will be possible to store that PB about a person in a finite storage element!

Any future marketing exercises wanting to address a given population better be prepared to be able to digest this sort of volume of information, in a usable time! Because it will happen, very soon, scaled out to the size of their audience. Yes, Virginia: we're talking Hexabytes - HB - here!"

Noons is wondering how we're going to be able to use Personal Petabytes for marketing if we don't have proper computing resources.  Here is my take on this issue:

Inside a personal petabyte

A Personal Petabyte would be mostly composed of non-correlated data.  The movies I watch have no true relationship to the sandwich I ate for lunch, except that they are both related to me.  If you were to try to form an ERD of a complete Personal Petabyte (that is, every experience I have ever been through) you would have a central "Me" table surrounded by thousands of child tables that have no real bearing on each other except for form new instances of "Me."

The problem you mention above regarding the CPU and its memory being the true bottleneck is true if we're talking about a traditional Von Neumann architecture: a sequential flow of data between a CPU and its memory.  However, using multiple CPUs with cache and branch prediction, we can achieve a high level of parallelism that can break through the conventional boundaries that you mention.  Add in Solid State Disk and you have an extremely fast system that can tackle huge volumes of data.

But even that still falls under the Von Neumann architecture, which has mostly been deemed inadequate to handle large amounts of non-correlated data such as a Personal Petabyte.  If the aim is to capture EVERY bit of data regarding a person's life (and not just the data that pertains to our business/marketing scheme), a different architecture entirely will be required.

I would say this is where neural networks come into play.  Neural networks are made to store huge amounts of raw sensory data, then process it with multiple asynchronous systems to find patterns and correlations (e.g. "People who like beef, wear flip flops, and watch movies about ninjas are more apt to buy Tide Detergent than Gain").  The concept here is to mimic the human brain (and by cross-referencing your Personal Petabyte with other people's Personal Petabytes, to simulate a Super Conscious) to figure out what the next Instance of You and ultimately the next Instance of Group Mind would like to buy.

I suppose the closest thing we would have in the current abilities of Oracle would be a massive snowflake schema based around a fact table called "HUMAN".  All the data, forming together into every instance of a person, would be crunched and Materialized Views generated to store statistics regarding all the discovered correlations.  A system such as this would absolutely require lightning fast disk resources such as SSD, coupled with a large amount of processors distributed amongst multiple systems in order to crunch the data.  And because of the randomness of human experience, a large amount of the data would have to be self-identifying...SYS.ANYDATA galore!

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