10 record-breaking achievements in tech

IBM Roadrunner
The fastest supercomputer in the world is part of the Roadrunner project at the Los Alamos National Lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico

Fastest runner, tallest building, fattest man – who cares about any of that when there are world records of technology just waiting to be broken?

Some of these records have stood for eons, a few are broken just about every year.

The greatest tech advancements are all about faster speeds and higher capacities, proof that the highest accomplishments of man are often silicon-based.

1. Largest wireless internet provider
DoCoMo in Japan, with 45 million subscribers
Guinness World Record: Yes, in 2006

In 2006, DoCoMO in Japan set – and has kept – the record for the largest deployment of wireless internet with 45 million subscribers. The service is called i-Mode, and is similar to the US Sprint closed network system that enables users to access a set number of web sites and check their usage plans.

2. internet land speed record
Record stands at 7.67 Gbps
Guinness World Record: No

This record, set in 2007 by the University of Tokyo, is interesting because it essentially maxed out the limit of a 10 Gbps connection, running at a real-world speed of 7.67 Gbps. The test requires that the participants use standard TCP/IP and a single IP address sent to another single IP address, so no clusters are involved. Since there are no higher 40Gbps network interface controller cards available yet, the speed test is essentially on hold until new hardware is available.

3. Largest virtualization deployment
Userful and ThinNetworks' 356,800 thin clients in Brazil
Guinness World Record: No

At just £30 ($50) per seat, the Userful and ThinNetworks deployment of 356,800 clients – which will be used for rural schools in Brazil this year – involves 18,750 workstations running thousands of desktop instances. Each workstation will run ten different clients in a classroom setting, with ten students using a screen, keyboard and mouse connected to a single thin PC. The deployment will save about 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions as well, and reduce power consumption by about 80 per cent. Impressive.

4. Most viewed internet concert
Madonna webcast on MSN in 2000 with 11 million virtual attendees
Guinness World Record: Yes

Way back in 2000, an online concert for Madonna attracted 11 million simultaneous visitors, even if it didn't attract a hugely positive reaction. The video ran on both MSN.com and MSN.co.uk. Today, online concerts are rare – they tend to cause server outages, congestion problems with ISPs, and mean a lot of frustration for fans.

5. Fastest desktop processor
Intel Core i7
Guinness World Record: No

The current record-holder for fastest processor is the relatively new Intel Core i7, running at 3.20 GHz and setting a record score of 117 in the SPECint_base_rate2006 test. It's the first CPU to perform better than a score of 100, and is ranked about 40 per cent faster than previous Intel processors. It's also worth mentioning that AMD broke a world record for the fastest overclocked CPU, with the Phenom II X4 running at 6.5GHz, cooled by liquid nitrogen and liquid helium.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.