Gangnam style is the world most watched video, and earlier this week a post appeared on the YouTube Google+ account and it stated “Gangnam Style has been viewed so many times we have to upgrade!. While the video has died down in popularity, it still managed to reach the “view cap” on YouTube. That cap was 2,147,483,647 views which was roughly what the video hit when it stopped counting.
Here is what was really happening YouTube was perfectly fine there is nothing wrong with how YouTube is coded in fact YouTube code has no predefined “limit” for the view count. The flaw was in the server and the amount of RAM that was available. RAM (Random Access Memory), is the cornerstone of holding information. The information for the view count is held in a database and is loaded by the server’s RAM. Here is what went wrong on a computer you traditionally have a 32-bit or a 64-bit system. This can be represented as an integer meaning 2^32 and 2^64 are the accompanying numbers for the systems. If you grab your calculator and type in 2^32 you will get 2,147,483,647 which is the exact number of views that PSY’s video had received.
The solution was quite simple YouTube upgraded their systems to allow a 64-bit integer which sets the new cap at the insane number of 9,223,372,036,854,775,808! To put that into perspective, there are approximately 3 billion people who have internet access. This means 2/3rds of the internet has seen Gangnam Style and required YouTube to fix their mistake.
While Gangnam Style did not break YouTube the way that has been said it did require YouTube to improve their system and it has almost been viewed by every single person on the internet. Congratulation PSY, Google, and for those of us who have seen it.
If you have yet to see the video that is about to change: