Brewster Kahle, the Librarian of 404 Billion Websites


An engineer who once studied artificial intelligence and co-founded web ranker Alexa, Kahle, 53, is armed with an obsession to collect everything. You’ll find part of the physical embodiment of his Alexandria-like collection in a former Christian Science church in San Francisco, where near-life-sized paper mâché dolls of the Archive's friends and benefactors occupy the pews. There's also a repository in Richmond, California, which is filled with a million books, and, to serve up the Wayback Machine—a historical backup of the web's pages that launched in 2001 and recently passed the 400 billion mark—there's a datacenter stored inside a shipping container that holds three petabytes (that's one thousand terabytes) and can process 500 requests per second.

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