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New law on semiconductor growth

In 1965, Gordon Moore of intel published a paper suggesting that the number of transistors on a chip would double every year. Later, it was revised to suggest a number of 18 months, which became true in part due to marketing pressure to meet the law.

Recently, Intel revised the law to set the time at two years.

So this suggests a new law, that the time period in Moore's Law doubles about every 40 years.


I've always thought that the weight placed on Moore's Law (and the ensuing hystrionics when it's discovered to have "slowed down") was pretty silly. It's clearly not reasonable to expect exponential growth to continue indefinitely. Resource limitations will put pressure on growth. In this case, we're talking about physical limits, as well as limits on the resources needed to construct chip fabs capable of making the denser chips.

A more reasonable "law" would model the growth as a logistic function, the way population growth is modeled in biology/ecology. A logistic is (essentially) an exponential that "slows down". (sound familiar?) In fact, your characterization of an exponential whose rate is cut in half every 40 years may in fact be a logistic. Anyway, if I had the data, I'd love to regress a logistic curve onto it and see what comes out. Since the logistic eventually levels off, the model would give a prediction of the limit of semiconductor growth.

I find it interesting that you say:

It's clearly not reasonable to expect exponential growth to continue indefinitely.

Because I completely agree with you, but find that over 90% of the technical community does not. They believe that when silicon stops getting exponentially faster, "they" will figure out "something else."

This is a belief bordering on religious - I can't prove it's not true, but there's not exactly a lot of scientific evidence to support it.

Articles that talk about how industry leaders are "shocked" that Moore's Law might be slowing down should cite whether or not that industry leader has supported (1) the reduction in corporate funding for pure research, (2) tax cuts that harm funding of NSF grants, (3) tax cuts that reduce funding of public education.

However, since you are the FunnyGuy, I do want to pay compliments to your observation about every 40 years. I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of bed! As Homer Simpson said, "It's funny 'cause it's true."

Just wanted to say thanks for the really useful copyright info. Didn't know where else to post it.

I think that hypothesizing a new law based off of Moore's law is a little dramatic, especially taking into account that the time period has only changed 3 times and there is not enough data to suggest a hypothesis of that sort. I think however that as technology increases, who ever said that chips were going to be in existance anyway? Why not some more advanced form of technology? Read Angels and Demons: We thought Star Trek was pretty silly for running a ship on "anti-matter" because we thought "what could be ANTI matter?" However, it is coming true thanks to CERN. Sorry to be brief but I need to finish an exam

A few years back I had an assignment to photograph Gordon Moore--I'm a photographer. As it happened, Moore's Law had been a topic of discussion on the public radio station I was listening to just prior to arriving at Intel. So it was a natural topic of conversation during the shoot. What surprised me was Moore's response. According to my memory, Moore was very casual about the details of his own law and effectively said that the time frame was flexible according to the occasion. In other words Moore was saying that it was an off-hand remark that he himself didn't treat with any consistency. So is it Moore's Law or Moore's Remark?

It's not simply a remark, since he wrote a paper on the subject in which he charted the increasing density and fitted a curve to it.

Yes, and then he decided to banter with me over the precise nature of those writings. I truely felt that Gordon Moore was not concerned about consistency. Of course he may simply be exhaused in dealing with the topic and offered up a new spin for his own entertainment.

Brad, did you know that there's research going on that uses plants to make a super computer? The drive behind this project (which also limmits it) has something to do with an ability to carry a 1 and 0 at the same time. Wish I could remember where college was; I suffer from C.R.S...

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