Monday, February 24, 2014

Moore's Law

Again, passing along information that I did not write, but find interesting:

Moore's Law comes to us from Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) and, later, Intel Corporation (INTC). In a nutshell, Dr. Moore wrote a paper in 1965 describing his observation that the number of transistors on a given cost integrated circuit had doubled each year since the invention of the integrated circuit, and his belief that the number of transistors would continue to double, at the same cost, every two years for the foreseeable future. The subtle detail that is often missed in casual discussions of Moore's Law is that the number of transistors doubles AT THE SAME COST. So the size of a transistor has continually become smaller and less expensive.
This is almost unbelievable insight at a time where we were still four years away from landing on the moon, and we still didn't have the ubiquitous, and almost free, four function handheld electronic calculator.
Moore's Law (Moore's Observation) has been driving the progress in semiconductor technology for the past 50 years, and quite accurately, I might add. The feature size or "node" has been reduced from 10 um (micrometer) for the first commercial microprocessor (4004) to 14nm (nanometer) for the soon to be shipping Broadwell microprocessor. That is a 99.86% reduction in the size of a transistor. The 4004 had 2300 transistors and the Broadwell is expected to have about 1.6 billion transistors. That is almost 700,000 times more transistors than the first microprocessor!

The benefits we enjoy daily have been largely influenced by this miracle. But the subject of the article is that Moore's Law must come to an end.

We are about out of physics, here people. But the ride has been a good one. And this insight, as is mentioned, is truly amazing.

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