Andrew Odlyzko: Technology Manias: Comparing the 1999 Internet Bubble with the 1840s Railroad Mania

A Lecture by Andrew Odlyzko, Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Digital Technology Center and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute at the University of Minnesota

Big Ideas About Information Lecture Series

Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 4 p.m., Room 120

Reception to Follow

“Internet traffic is doubling every three months,” wrote Business Week, on October 9, 2000. Others made similar claims – from the head of the Federal Communications Commission to the CEOs of telecommunications companies. None of this was true, as many millions of investors found out. Yet almost everyone repeated it, ad infinitum. Except for Andrew Odlyzko, a researcher at AT&T Labs.  He knew and said otherwise.

In this “Big Ideas about Information” lecture, Professor Odlyzko will compare the Internet bubble of the turn of the century with the British Railway Mania of the 1840s, the greatest technology mania in history – up until the bubble. In both cases, clear evidence indicated that financial instruments would crash.  Yet, vast fortunes were wagered.  Now, many are asking: has Bubble 2.0 arrived? Professor Odlyzko offers his analytical insights on this nagging question.

Audio of Professor Odlyzko’s Presentation (MP3)

AndrewOdlyzko.mp3 [1:48:17 49.6 MB]

Professor Odlyzko’s Power Point Presentation (PPT)


Professor Odlyzko’s Web site 

Announcement on TechLiberationFront

Internet Expert Andrew Odlyzko at George Mason Law

New! Prof. Odlyzko is quoted extensively in the New York Times on March 13, 2008, diagnosing the challenging developments in the flow of Internet traffic.  Steve Lohr, Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam, N.Y. Times, March 13, 2008 (quoting Andrew Odlyzko, “Others are less worried — at least in the short term. Andrew M. Odlyzko, a professor at the University of Minnesota, estimates that digital traffic on the global network is growing about 50 percent a year, in line with a recent analysis by Cisco Systems, the big network equipment maker…’The long-term issue is where innovation happens,” Professor Odlyzko said. “Where will the next Google, YouTube, eBay or Amazon come from?'”).

Series Navigation<< Dennis Patrick: Abolishing the Fairness Doctrine, A Policy Maker’s PerspectiveWilliam Webb: Spectrum Reform: A U.K. Regulator’s Perspective >>

Related posts:

This entry is part 5 of 20 in the series Tullock Lecture Big Ideas About Information Series