Don't Bet Against Moore's Law

  • May 9, 2011
  • Scott

If Moore’s Law had been easy to adhere to it wouldn’t have garnered the respect it has as an axiom of human progress.  For some reason everyone has always assumed it was about to run its course… and every time we appear near the end, a new innovation (or ten) comes along to sustain Moore’s Law a bit longer.

Kurzweil was quoted on Wikipedia as saying:

In terms of size [of transistors] you can see that we’re approaching the size of atoms which is a fundamental barrier, but it’ll be two or three generations before we get that far—but that’s as far out as we’ve ever been able to see. We have another 10 to 20 years before we reach a fundamental limit. By then they’ll be able to make bigger chips and have transistor budgets in the billions.[55]

Furthermore, “In 2008 it was noted that for the last 30 years it has been predicted that Moore’s law would last at least another decade.[49]” – in fact, that is exactly how I feel.  Every time we think we’re running out of room for improvement, we still see another 10 years out…

And then Intel shows up with a 3D transistor:

The breakthrough comes from building up the channel that conducts electricity inside chips from a flat structure to a taller, 3-D structure. The stop-start flow of electrons through that channel is the underlying pulse of the zeros and ones that our computers read and translate into our web pages, documents and everything else.

The real magic, however, is that they’ve figured out how to manufacture this innovation efficiently and at scale. You’d have lost a lot of money betting against Moore’s Law for the last 30+ years.  I think it will be a losing bet for quite a few years more.

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