The Genomic Revolution

The 1990 book of Jurassic Park tends to come off as quite prophetic, and also to show how long ago 1990 was:

Nedry had worked on a lot of large systems. He’d made a name for himself setting up worldwide telephone communications for multinational corporations. Often those systems had millions of records. He was used to that. But InGen wanted something so much larger. . . .

Puzzled, Nedry had gone to see Barney Fellows over at Symbolics, near the M.I.T. campus in Cambridge.

“What kind of a database has three billion records, Barney?”

“A mistake,” Barney said, laughing. “They put in an extra zero or two.”

“It’s not a mistake. I checked. It’s what they want.”

“But that’s crazy,” Barney said. “It’s not workable. Even if you had the fastest processors and blindingly fast algorithms, a search would still take days. Maybe weeks.”

“Yeah,” Nedry said. “I know. Fortunately I’m not being asked to do algorithms. I’m just being asked to reserve storage and memory for the overall system. But still . . . what could the database be for?”

Barney frowned. “You operating under an ND?”

“Yes,” Nedry said. Most of his jobs required nondisclosure agreements.

“Can you tell me anything?”

“It’s a
bioengineering firm.”

“Bioengineering,” Barney said. “Well, there’s the obvious. . . .”

“Which is?”

“A DNA molecule.”

“Oh, come on,” Nedry said. “Nobody could be analyzing a DNA molecule.”

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