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260 MIPS worth of Yahoo!

Isn't it just funny how we can't get our heads around scale.  Take Yahoo for example;  Most people on the internet know the name Yahoo and most have at least a half an idea what they are about.  In summary they are an internet portal - a kind of elaborate gateway entrance to the city of joy.  You can even get a piece of the action by building your own Yahoo internet store to sell goodies over the web.

Yahoo claim to attract over half a billion visitors every month.  Conservative estimates put it higher than that!  They are worth about $50 billion, give or take a few billion.  That seems huge!  It is huge.  One wonders what strain their servers must be under to cope with such a tsunami of visitors.  It is mind boggling to wonder in awe at the very scale of the thing... but... hang on a minute!  My processor runs at about 50,000 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) or 50 BIPS (Billion Instructions Per Second).

If Yahoo gets 500,000,000 visitors per month that is 6,000,000,000 (6 billion) per annum which (accounting for leap years) is about 16,427,105 visitors per day.  It still seems quite large.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day and that means, on average, Yahoo gets about 190 visitors per second.  190 page views per second with one processor running at 50 billion instructions per second doesn't sound too overpowering does it?  So each user gets the potential of about 263 million processor operations available to them.  Seen from this angle it seems as if Yahoo is almost under subscribed.  If they have more than one computer the processors will be sitting around gazing at the stars and pondering their own cyber-navels.  They may even have their "bits" stuck up their own internet portal.

But all that aside you can check them out by visiting their web site.  See if you can get your 260 MIPS worth!


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