In the previous Weekend Assignment we endeavoured to learn about Data.

The creation of data, such as an image, a video, and this blog are ever on the rise, with more data created in the last 2 years than all of preceding history.

According to a blog by Northeastern University the total amount of data in the world in 2013 was 4.4 zettabytes (4.4 trillion gigabytes), with the amount of data estimated to rise to 44 zettabytes by 2020. That is 44 trillion gigabytes!

To add perspective here is how 44 zettabytes would look like in different file types:

  • 1.76 x 1016 image files (with an average file size of 2.5MB)
  • 8.8 x 1012 HD movies (with an average file size of 5GB)

For more perspective the total size of Wikipedia in June 2015 was 10 Terabytes uncompressed. That means Wikipedia could be duplicated 4.4 billion times over.

The pressing question with all of this is how will we store all this data. Last year Samsung released a 15.36 terabyte hard drive that cost $10,000 and a company called Seagate says they have created a 60 terabyte hard drive. However, physical hard drives might not be able to keep up and solve our data storage problem.

Recently researchers have found a way to encode digital data in DNA. With a single gram of DNA capable of storing 215 petabytes (215 million gigabytes) of data. The main benefits of this would be the fact that DNA is ultracompact and could last thousands of years if stored in a cool and dry environment.

Something that has grown exponentially and taken up more and more data are Apps. This brings us to this week’s Weekend Assignment.

Mobile Apps (Applications) have become more essential in day to day life, and many companies solely exist as an App.

Your Assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to learn something new about Apps.

Here are avenues you could explore:

  • What was the first App
  • What is the difference between a computer program and a mobile application
  • Is there an App for everything

Share what you learn with us on Twitter by tagging us and using #SaylorAssignment or start the conversation on Discourse.


If you want to learn more about Data and Computer Science we have 20 courses that might interest you.