Around 19th April, 1965, Gordon E. Moore made a prediction, in his article- Cramming more components onto integrated circuits – that set the pace for modern digital revolution. Moore studied the emerging trend and conclusively extrapolated the ideas into a single organizing principle that foresaw the computing power to increase, and its cost to go down, exponentially in the years to come.
When the law has turned 50, as can be expected, there would be a range of reviews.
We have collected some of these reviews here in this post. –
Moore’s Law Turns 50 – Thomas L. Friedman
‘Intel’s C.E.O., Brian Krzanich summarized where Moore’s Law has taken us. If you took Intel’s first generation microchip, the 1971 4004, and the latest chip Intel has on the market today, the fifth-generation Core i5 processor, he said, you can see the power of Moore’s Law at work: Intel’s latest chip offers 3,500 times more performance, is 90,000 times more energy efficient and about 60,000 times lower cost.
‘To put that another way, Krzanich said Intel engineers did a rough calculation of what would happen had a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle improved at the same rate as microchips did under Moore’s Law: “Here are the numbers: [Today] you would be able to go with that car 300,000 miles per hour. You would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and all that for the mere cost of 4 cents! Now, you’d still be stuck on the [Highway] 101 getting here tonight, but, boy, in every opening you’d be going 300,000 miles an hour!”
‘Moore pretty much anticipated the personal computer, the cellphone, self-driving cars, the iPad, Big Data and the Apple Watch. How did he do that? (The only thing he missed, Friedman jokingly told him, was “microwave popcorn.”). But “I guess one thing I’ve learned is once you’ve made a successful prediction, avoid making another one,” Moore said. “I’ve avoided opportunities to predict the next 10 or 50 years.”
‘Given that, is there something that he wishes he had predicted — like Moore’s Law — but did not?…“The importance of the Internet surprised me,” said Moore. “It looked like it was going to be just another minor communications network that solved certain problems. I didn’t realize it was going to open up a whole universe of new opportunities, and it certainly has. I wish I had predicted that.”
‘Moore is still humble. Moore said that for the first two decades, he couldn’t utter the term “Moore’s Law” because it was so embarrassing. After that, he was eventually able to say it with a straight face, he said.
‘Asked if Moore’s Law or Murphy’s Law were more popular on Google, Moore said, “Oh, Moore’s Law beats it by a mile.”’
‘As more transistors fit into smaller spaces, processing power increased and energy efficiency improved, all at a lower cost for the end user. This development not only enhanced existing industries and increased productivity, but it has spawned whole new industries empowered by cheap and powerful computing.
From the Internet itself, to social media and modern data analytics, all these innovations stem directly from Moore and his findings.
The inexpensive, ubiquitous computing rapidly expanding all around us is fundamentally changing the way we work, play and communicate…..In fact, it’s quite difficult to envision what our modern world might be like without Moore’s Law.
SPECIAL REPORT: 50 Years of Moore’s Law : the end won’t be sudden and apocalyptic but rather gradual and complicated. Moore’s Law truly is the gift that keeps on giving—and surprising, as well.
The Multiple Lives of Moore’s Law By Chris Mack
In 1959 and 1960s, Jean Hoerni of Fairchild invented the planar transistor—a form of transistor that was constructed in the plane of the silicon wafer instead of on a raised plateau, or mesa, of silicon. … With this configuration, engineers could build wires above the transistors to connect them and so make an “integrated circuit” in one fell swoop on the same chip. ..Robert Noyce showed that planar transistors could be used to make an integrated circuit as a solid block, by coating the transistors with an insulating layer of oxide and then adding aluminum to connect the devices. Fairchild used this new architecture to build the first silicon integrated circuit, which was announced in 1961 and contained a whopping four transistors. By 1965, the company was getting ready to release a chip with roughly 64 components…. Armed with this knowledge, Moore opened his 1965 paper with a bold statement: “The future of integrated electronics is the future of electronics itself.” ….. Moore’s prediction was about the number of electronic components—not just transistors but also devices such as resistors, capacitors, and diodes. Many early integrated circuits actually had more resistors than transistors. Later, metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) circuitry, which relied less on nontransistor components, emerged, and the digital age began. Transistors dominated, and their number became the more useful measure of integrated circuit complexity.
Ten years later, Moore revisited his prediction and revised it. …. For a while at least, shrinking transistors offered something that rarely happens in the world of engineering: no trade-offs. Thanks to a scaling rule named for IBM engineer Robert Dennard, every successive transistor generation was better than the last. A shrinking transistor not only allowed more components to be crammed onto an integrated circuit but also made those transistors faster and less power hungry…..This single factor has been responsible for much of the staying power of Moore’s Law, and it’s lasted through two very different incarnations. In the early days, Moore’s Law 1.0, progress came by “scaling up”—adding more components to a chip. The microprocessor, which emerged in the early 1970s, exemplifies this phase…. But over the last few decades, progress in the semiconductor industry became dominated by Moore’s Law 2.0. This era is all about “scaling down,” driving down the size and cost of transistors even if the number of transistors per chip does not go up… In the 1980s and early 1990s, the technology generations, or “nodes,” that define progress in the industry were named after dynamic RAM generations: In 1989, for example, we had the 4-megabyte DRAM node; in 1992, the 16-MB node. Each generation meant greater capability within a single chip as more and more transistors were added without raising the cost….. Moore’s Law 1.0 is still alive today in the highest-end graphics processing units, field-programmable gate arrays, and perhaps a handful of the microprocessors aimed at supercomputers. But for everything else, Moore’s Law 2.0 dominates. And now it’s in the process of changing again.
This change is happening because the benefits of miniaturization are progressively falling away… for the last decade or so, Moore’s Law has been more about cost than performance; we make transistors smaller in order to make them cheaper…. The three factors—improved yields, larger wafers, and rising equipment productivity—have allowed chipmakers to make chips denser and denser for decades while keeping the cost per area nearly the same and reducing the cost per transistor. But now, this trend may be ending. And it’s largely because lithography has gotten more expensive.
Going forward, innovations in semiconductors will continue, but they won’t systematically lower transistor costs. Instead, progress will be defined by new forms of integration: gathering together disparate capabilities on a single chip to lower the system cost. ..we’re not looking at combining different pieces of logic into one, bigger chip. Rather, we’re talking about uniting the non-logic functions that have historically stayed separate from our silicon chips….. Chip designers have just begun exploring how to integrate microelectromechanical systems, which can be used to make tiny accelerometers, gyroscopes, and even relay logic. The same goes for microfluidic sensors, which can be used to perform biological assays and environmental tests… But this new phase of Moore’s Law—what I call Moore’s Law 3.0 and what others in the semiconductor industry call “more than Moore”—may not make economic sense. Integrating nonstandard components onto a chip offers many exciting opportunities for new products and capabilities. What it doesn’t offer is the regular, predictable road map for continued success.
Moore’s Curse – By Vaclav Smil
There is a dark side to the revolution in electronics: unjustified technological expectations.. We are assured that rapid progress will soon bring self-driving electric cars, hypersonic airplanes, individually tailored cancer cures, and instant three-dimensional printing of hearts and kidneys. We are even told it will pave the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies….. But the doubling time for transistor density is no guide to technical progress generally. Modern life depends on many processes that improve rather slowly, not least the production of food and energy and the transportation of people and goods. There is no shortage of historical data to illustrate this reality,…. Outside the microchip-dominated world, innovation simply does not obey Moore’s Law, proceeding at rates that are lower by an order of magnitude.
The current economic boom is likely due to increases in computing speed and decreases in price. The article discusses some good reasons to think that the party may be ending.
Life Beyond Moore’s Law – Michael Feldman, Intersect360 Research – may lie in a number of technological developments that are already emerging. These developments – new architectures, processor integration, and 3D chip stacking – are all ways to use transistor real estate more effectively, and are being employed today to improve power and performance profiles beyond what can be delivered by Moore’s Law alone. Given that, it’s reasonable to expect that once transistor sizes become static, these strategies will become even more appealing.
After 50 years, Moore’s Law has become cultural shorthand for innovation itself. When Intel, or Nvidia, or Samsung refer to Moore’s Law in this context, they’re referring to the continuous application of decades of knowledge and ingenuity across hundreds of products. It’s a way of acknowledging the tremendous collaboration that continues to occur from the fab line to the living room, the result of painstaking research aimed to bring a platform’s capabilities a little more in line with what users want. Is that marketing? You bet. But it’s not just marketing.
Moore’s Law is dead. Long live Moore’s Law.
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