As Need for Data Storage Grows, A Dull Industry Gets an Upgrade


Scientists, meanwhile increasingly rely on simulations that require collecting vast amounts of numbers. One example is a database at Colorado State University, where researcher Patrick Burns is studying how mad-cow disease might spread among the state’s two million cattle. To make his predictions, he first enumerated all the places in the state a cow might be. He found 19,031 such locales. He also is trying to discern all the “events” — including slaughters, births, deaths, moves from barn to feedlot — that might place one cow in close proximity to another. He’s up to 7.7 million events.