Sunday, September 27, 2009
A story about a googol
In 1996, in Room 360 of the Gates CS Building at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were sharing their work space with other graduates, began calling their brand new search engine 'BackRub' inspired by the way it used the webs 'back links'. A year later when 'BackRub' was actually starting to look like something effective and sophisticated enough to share with the general public, a brainstorming session was called and 'googolplex' was suggested. A 'googol' is the name given to 10 to the power of 100. A 'googolplex' is 10 to the power of 'googol' or 1o to the power of in brackets 10 to the power of 100.
Are you still with me?
Mathmatician Edward Kasner's nine-year-old nephew Milton Sirotta suggested the term 'googolplex' to describe the number '1 followed by as many zeros as you can write until you get too tired to write any more'. His father, being a mathmatician and therefore prone to specifics, proposed the more formal definition. Milton's picture of a number so big it you run out of energy before you finish writing it- and so big there is not enough physical space in the universe to actually write it- is exactly what Page and Brin, the inventors of 'Google' (Larry Page wasn't the best speller) were looking for.
Google - a search engine big enough to be able to index an amount of data so big it makes you tired just thinking about it.
On September the 15th 1997 the name 'google.com' became a registered domain name.
Do you Google?