Moores Law Revisited

Moore Law, that computing power will double in capacity for the same price every 18-24 months ,has been a rule of thumb that has lasted for close to fifty years. It has been the generator behind the Information Revolution sweeping through developed and under-developed economies. One of the problems with maintaining Moores Law increases in computing power has not only been the demanding tasks of fabrication at such microscopic size, the millionth of a meter scale – easily 1/100th of a hair width; but also the inherent heat generated as electrons move through capacitance limiting transistors. In recent years with rising energy costs, heat has become the binding constraint.

Recently AMD, Intel and other CPU and circuit makers have deferred on upping the CPU chip speed due to heat problems and instead have switched over to dual and multi-core processor designs. Dual core means that the basic chip runs at the same clock rate but has two CPU cores connected together on one chip. This doubles the processing powerof the chip with little or no increase is speed and consequent heat problems.

But now scientists at the University of Rochester have come up with a new chip design called Ballistic Deflection transistor. This design reduces heat production by eliminating the capacitative layer and its use of energy to deflect and redirect electron flow in a chip. This is just one of the more promising transistor designs that attempt to bring faster chip clock rates back into the chip design world.

However, some computer developers are arguing that the multi-core design of chips has some inherent software advantages in the world of threading and multi-processing. They expect multi-core designs reaching 8 and 16 CPU cores or components on a chip to continue to be developed vigorously. The bottom line, is that futurist Ray Kurzweil may be right on one of his key assumptions – Moores law will continue through to the next half century. Now as for his other conclusions – well read one of his books and see what you think.

(c)JBSurveyer 2006

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