Moore’s Law Turns Forty, Future Still Looks Bright
- 20 April, 2005 15:13
<p>Intel Works to the March of Moore’s Law</p>
<p>SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 19, 2005 -- Forty years ago a young engineer named Gordon Moore observed a trend in the early days of the microelectronics that defined the business strategy for today’s US$200 billion dollar semiconductor industry. This observation – later dubbed Moore’s Law – predicted the complexity of integrated circuits would double every year with a commensurate reduction in cost.</p>
<p>This observation also powered a fledging semiconductor industry to create the microprocessor – the brains of computers – and many other integrated circuits that have enabled personal computers, the Internet, cell phones and video games. Utilising advancements in computer chip technology, we now have movies and TV shows with photo-realistic animated images, cars providing better gas mileage while polluting less, a way to find lost pets (embedded ID chips), and devices to help us find our way in a strange city (GPS).</p>
<p>“At Intel ,we are working hard to make sure Moore’s Law continues to drive our industry well into the future. We have the next 10-15 years of advances already mapped out in our research labs,” noted Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation. “We anticipate not only continued advancement in the traditional computing and communication sectors, but we also see a future where semiconductor technology will help revolutionise the health care industry, the way we educate our children, how we protect ourselves and our environment and manage our daily affairs in a more complex world. Silicon chips – made ever more powerful by the march of Moore’s Law – will continue to bring these future capabilities to people throughout the world at ever decreasing cost.”</p>
<p>What is Moore’s Law?</p>
<p>On April 19, 1965, Electronics Magazine published a paper by Gordon Moore in which he predicted the complexity of integrated circuits would double every year with a commensurate reduction in cost. Known as Moore’s Law, his prediction has enabled widespread proliferation of technology worldwide and today has become shorthand for rapid technological change. Moore updated his prediction in 1975 to state that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years and it still holds true today. Besides forecasting how chip complexity increases (as measured by transistors contained on a computer chip), Moore’s Law also suggests decreasing costs. As silicon-based components and platform ingredients gain in performance, they become exponentially cheaper to produce, and therefore more plentiful, powerful, and seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. Today’s microprocessors run everything from toys to traffic lights. A musical birthday card costing a few U.S. dollars today has more computing power than the fastest mainframes of a few decades ago.</p>
<p>Moore’s Law in Perspective</p>
<p>Moore’s Law is not a law in a scientific sense, but rather an observation, and it has provided the basis for huge leaps of progress.</p>
<p>In 2004 the semiconductor industry produced more transistors – and at lower cost – than the world produced grains of rice, according to the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association.
Gordon Moore used to estimate that the number of transistors shipped in a year equaled the number of ants in the world, but by 2003 the industry was making about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1018) transistors and each ant needed to carry 100 transistors on its back to keep the analogy accurate.
In 1978, a commercial flight between New York and Paris cost around US$900 and took seven hours. If the same principles of Moore’s Law had been applied to the airline industry the way they have to the semiconductor industry since 1978, that flight would now cost about a penny and take less than one second.
<p>Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.</p>
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