The Big Oh Of Data Transfer

Computer Science Level 1

Winston, the pigeon

Winston, the pigeon

Back in 2009, citizens of South Africa were frustrated with internet speed. They raced a carrier pigeon against their ISP. The pigeon had a 4 GB USB stick affixed to its leg and was taught to fly to an office, 50 miles away.

The pigeon won by a huge margin -- only 4% of the data was sent through the internet services as the pigeon reached the destination in 2 hours.

You may read the fascinating story, here

As a sidenote, notice that the pigeon would take the same time to carry a data packet of 10 KB to the same destination 50 miles away. But then again, it'd take the same time to carry a 1 TB hard drive, as well.

If \(n\) is the number of bits being transmitted, how would you characterize the time taken to transmit data by the pigeon (for a reasonable amount of data)?

Inspired by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

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