The Case of overwhelming numbers!!!

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King Shirham was one of the victims of growing numbers, he wanted to reward his vizier Sissa Bin Dahir for creating the game of chess. This Vizier very humbly bending down on this knees told the King, “Majesty, my request is very simple, give me a grain of wheat to put on first square of chess, and two grains to put on second one, four grains to put on third and eight on fourth and so on, hence your majesty please give me the grains covering the complete chessboard”.

Initially the king thought this was a very humble and small request. However we all know, that Vizier had asked for the 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains of wheat, this number is more than the total number of wheat grains mankind has produced till date!

The numbers which double at frequent intervals, at the start they appear to be deceptively slow but over a period of time, they become too big to handle, and eventually become larger than what our physical laws or nature allow. For example, the number of transistors on the silicon chip have been doubling every 18 months (also known as Moore’s Law in another words), now we see that we are hitting the wall as we reach the Quantum Realm. Like wise, The cost of setting up the Chip manufacturing facility also doubles every four years, hence sooner or later the cost factor will cut into economies of chip manufacturing.

Similarly, major companies in Indian IT Industry has been adding employees at a steady rate of 30% since last 12-15 years, till 2030 the number of people they would require to sustain this kind of growth would overtake the number of students who pass out from Schools every year!!! Therefore, new business models, where revenues not directly proportional to the number of people would be required.

People would hate to hear this, but this is also true with our salaries, they also cannot grow at the same pace at periodic intervals at which they have been growing in the past due to growth of the organizations, here again the number limits come into play. Precisely, this is the reason why we have stock market crashes, bubble bursts they are required to check the overwhelming growth and are equally important as the growth. Just like we have life and we have death!

In other words, nature maintains a harmony, a balancing act, we have been provided with the finite amount of resources to check any kind of progressive explosive growth and constantly forces us to find innovative mechanisms or methods towards harnessing it.

*image credit –

6 Responses to The Case of overwhelming numbers!!!

  1. Very interesting numbers indeed Anu.

    Though the ‘truth’ about the salaries wasn’t very comforting to digest ;)

    You know what intrigues me the most about numbers..


  2. However, as a sales guy, my targets somehow ALWAYS look more overwhelming to me then all other numbers that you have mentioned :o

  3. Swati Bhalla says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by numbers and loved Maths when I was a kid. And by this article you’ve just demonstrated one of the reasons why numbers are so fascinating to study! They have their own rules and its simple brilliancy to see and understand how logically they function!

    Loved it!

  4. Anukool says:

    Maths is indeed the language of nature, are you aware of Fermat’s Last Theorem?

  5. Swati Bhalla says:

    I actually am!! Infact I came across it in the book “The Girl who played with Fire” by Stieg Larrson although I don’t think I am very well equipped to understand it’s proof!

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