Bob Metcalfe, pictured here in front of his "SMATKA" SmartCar, joined MassTLC's Energy Cluster for a lively discussion on how the Internet provides lessons for solving Energy.
During this interactive dialogue, he noted that the time horizon will not be 1, 2, or even 3 years but rather will be decades, like the Internet. He believes the future Enernet will be more distributed with generation and storage built into the network itself. He thinks that we should search for silver bullets and serendipity of innovation that yields advances by factors of 10, 100, or 1000, rather than incremental improvements. By doing so, carbon credit exchanges or regulatory policies become irrelevant and economics and innovation becomes the driver. He also thinks that we should make whatever changes are needed to the Internet so that it can be the communications network for the Smart Grid rather than creating a separate network.
Metaclfe on Route 128 vs Silicon Valley:
Bob also shared his belief that it was a different mindset that enabled Silicon Valley to take off at the expense of Route 128 in the 1970's and 80's. He noted that the 128 mini companies followed Grosch's Law that "computing performance increases as the square of the cost" and built larger computers to scale and then time-share. Meanwhile, he noted that Silicon Valley companies followed Moore's Law that "the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit will double every two years" leading them to build ever smaller more powerful computers and devices. This divergence in mindset set the stage for explosive growth and innovation in the Valley compared to the 128 high tech corridor.
Event details and Bob's Presentation [PDF].