End of the Moore’s law: what next?
In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made an observation that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention.
Gordon Moore’s observation was not caused by any particular scientific or engineering necessity. It was a reflection on just how things happened to turn out. The chip industry has kept Moore’s prediction alive, with Intel leading the charge. And many companies have found a lot to do with the continual supply of extra transistors.
Fifty years after Moore’s law, contemporary society sees dozens of benefits from Gordon Moore vision. Smartphones and tablet computers would not work without very small processors. Smaller and faster computers improve transportation, health care, education and energy production. Just about every aspect of a high-tech society benefits from the concept of Moore’s law put into practice.
Recently the Intel company has struggled like much of the computer industry, to keep up with the pace of Moore’s Law. This is happening as much of the semiconductor industry is set to abandon the approach. The move away from Moore’s Law by the industry is thought to be a reflection that companies are struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation required to cram ever more transistors onto a finite space.Among the most limiting issues has been the heat generated as more and more circuitry is jammed onto a silicon chip.
A new approach, that is being called More than Moore, will aim to develop chips appropriate for applications like smartphones and supercomputers rather than simply trying to aggressively improve performance and meet cost requirements. Thinking out of the box can only be a good thing. But Intel pushed back its next transistor technology, with features as small as 10 nanometers, from 2016 to late 2017.
And then there’s the future possibility of quantum computing, a relatively new field that attempts to harness the uncertainty inherent in quantum states in order to perform vastly more complex calculations than are feasible with today’s computers. In quantum computers, they using qubits instead of transistors.
It may be the end of the free ride, but technological innovation is just entering a new era.