Moore’s Law breaking down, says smarty

John Moe May 1, 2012

Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors that can fit on a chip will double every two years, effectively creating unlimited exponential growth. WHY SHOULD I CARE, JOHN? I’ll tell you: more transistors = more powerful chips = more powerful computers = society advancing faster.

Moore’s Law was named for the founder of Intel, Mary Tyler Moore*, who first theorized it. But now theoretical physicist (he’s a real physicist, he is not, himself, theoretical) Michio Kaku, also a bestselling author, says it won’t hold up forever and is already breaking down:

in about ten years or so, we will see the collapse of Moore’s Law. In fact, already, already we see a slowing down of Moore’s Law. Computer power simply cannot maintain its rapid exponential rise using standard silicon technology. Intel Corporation has admitted this.

The reason it can’t keep up? Heat given off by the chips and energy leakage. Already there is confirmation that Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips run hotter than was expected. The design of the transistors in Ivy Bridge uses a three dimensional gate system that is supposed to curb energy leakage and it does but not enough, in Kaku’s opinion, to keep up with Moore’s Law.
Time’s article on this has a bunch more stuff on this involving the promise of molecular computers and the challenge of that technology (“molecules are teeny-tiny”).

*Okay fine, it was Gordon Moore, but he was the founder of Intel.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.