It took 13 years and 3 billion dollars to sequence the first human genome by scientists.

  • What would be an adjective to describe this feat?

However, now a new software can do the genome sequence in two hours, thanks to computers.

  • What would be an adjective to describe this feat and it in contrast to the above?

Basically, is there a word or phrase to demonstrate such a massive variance in effort and its corresponding achievement.

  • 2
    (1) It is a monumental / prodigious feat. (2) An amazing refinement of technique. Feb 3, 2015 at 16:56
  • This appears to boil down to growth of computational power, which is allegedly exponential (by Moore's law and other folklore).
    – anemone
    Feb 3, 2015 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Are you looking for a phrase to display the comparison? if so you could use:

What was once considered a ground-breaking feat is now deemed as trivial

What was once an extraordinary accomplishment is now an effortless task

  • 1
    +1, for ground-breaking, however, isn't trivial evocative of sth that isn't deep or meaningful? Feb 4, 2015 at 15:39
  • Yes, but trivial is also used to refer to sth that is not worth bothering about, or not worth mentioning. In software engineering, we sometimes use the term trivial to cite a processing component with relatively unimportant completion time (compared to other critical task which ultimately define the computational throughput) Feb 4, 2015 at 16:27

Humongous task can be used to describe the first task, number-crunching can be used for 'computer' or 'algorithm' based task.

  • 1
    I certainly wouldn't use humongous in any formal register.
    – WS2
    Feb 3, 2015 at 16:57
  • 1
    I certainly wouldn't use humongous in any formal register. It has only been around since the 1970s, possibly coined, from the words huge and monstrous, with the stress pattern of stupendous. Seems typically something a drunk might have invented. Gargantuan means exactly the same, and has the advantage of 500 years of history behind it, being a voracious giant from Rabelais' book Gargantua.
    – WS2
    Feb 3, 2015 at 17:06
  • Others are : Whopping, banging....just don't use it in a formal paper.
    – Misti
    Feb 3, 2015 at 17:10

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