PRESS KIT — Moore’s Law 40th Anniversary – Intel

On April 19, 1965 Electronics Magazine published a paper by Gordon Moore in which he made a prediction about the semiconductor industry that has become the stuff of legend. Known as Moore’s Law, his prediction has enabled widespread proliferation of technology worldwide, and today has become shorthand for rapid technological change.This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Moore’s Law. Below are materials related to this anniversary.

Images of Gordon Moore

Gordon E. Moore, Co-founder, Intel Corporation. (831KBJPG | 604KBEPS)

Moore’s Law graph, 1965

Moores Law in Perspective Clip Art

Moores Law Poster Microprocessor Chart

Intel Microprocessor Transistor Count Chart

Intel Wafers

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PRESS KIT — Moore’s Law 40th Anniversary – Intel

Moore’s Law – Cymer, Inc.

The Driving Force in the Semiconductor Industry

“Moore’s Law” is well-known and widely used in the semiconductor industry term to describe the advancement in semiconductor device technology. First observed by Intel Corporation co-founder and former chairman Gordon E. Moore in 1965, the empirical theory predicts that the transistor density onintegrated circuits (ICs) increases exponentially, doubling approximately every two years with proportionate decreases in cost. This prediction has held true since then andis a driving force oftechnology advancements worldwide.

To continue to meet Moore’s Law, the length and width of a transistor must shrink about 30% every 18 months. The ability to pattern smaller circuits depends on the wavelength of the light used in the photolithography process. A shorter wavelength of light can image circuitry with smaller critical dimensions (CDs) and pitch, which in turn allows the transistors to be smaller and transistor density to increase.

Since the introduction of its first Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) light source, Cymer has played a significant role in the advance of integrated circuit manufacturing.Cymer has worked to continuouslyimprove light source performance, enabling theapplication of its light sources to pattern ever smaller circuitry. As lithography continues to extend Moore’s Law, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography will succeed double-patterning ArF immersion lithography allowing the scaling of feature sizes and half-pitch to 22nm and beyond.

Furtherinformation on Moore’s Law can be found on the Intel Corporation website.

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Moore’s Law – Cymer, Inc.

50 Years On, Moore’s Law Still Pushes Tech to Double Down

Slide: 1 / of 1 .

Caption: Gordon E. Moore. Chuck Nacke/Alamy

On April 19, 1965, the 36-year-old head of R&D at seminal Silicon Valley firm Fairchild Semiconductor published a prediction in a trade magazine, Electronics. The researcher claimed that the number of componentsthat is, transistorson a single computer chip would continue to double every year, while the cost per chip would remain constant.

Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computersor at least terminals connected to a central computerautomatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment, that researcher, Gordon Moore, wrote.

Moore’s Law is both the imperative that propels tech companies forward and the standard by which they must abide in order to stay afloat in the industry.

At the time, Moore thought the prediction would hold true for a decadefrom 60 components on a single silicon chip to 65,000 by 1975. That year, he revised his forecast down to a doubling every two years. Moore went on to cofound a little company called Intel, which would become the number one semiconductor company in the world. Today, fifty years later, thedictum now famously known as Moores Law has withstood the test of time.

In the beginning, it was just a way of chronicling the progress, Moore, now 86 years old, said in an interview posted by Intel. But gradually, it became something that the various industry participants recognized as something they had to stay on or fall behind technologically.

Over the past five decades, the surge in computing power predicted by Moores Law has paralleled the trajectory of innovation in Silicon Valley. Computers were once the size of a room. Now smartphones with more processing power than NASA imagined it would need to send a man to the moon can easily fit in your pocket. When Moore first made his prediction, transistors were about the size of an eraser at the end of a pencil. Now, six million can fit into the period at the end of this sentence. The consistency with which more powerful chips have confirmed Moores Law has given companies the confidence to invest in the development of complementary technologies, from displays, sensors, and memory to digital imaging devices, software, and the internet. All the while, prices per unit of power keep falling.

But the reliability of Moores Law has also shaped expectations. Today, consumers all but demand that their gadgets get faster, cheaper, and more compact in step with Moores Law. Its both the imperative that propels tech companies forward and the standard by which they must abide in order to stay afloat in the industry.

Whats more, that expectation now extends, fairly or not, beyond gadgets to new innovations in cloud computing, the internet, social media, search, streaming video, and more. According to Dan Hutchenson, head of chip market research outfit VLSI Research, the market value of the companies across the spectrum of technologies beholden to Moores Law amounted to a whopping $13 trillion in 2014one-fifth of the asset value of the worlds economy.

As a result, Moores Law also means companies are in constant competition with their own progress, says Steve Brown, a strategist with Intel. Lucky for them, Brown says, Moores Law is not a fact of nature. Its more of an aspiration and a belief system, he says. Its that belief that drives technology companies to outdo themselves year after year, Brown saysa belief held by both themselves and their customers.

Beyond the advance of computing technology itself, the surge in computing power predicted by Moores Law has led to Moores Law-like transformations in other industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and genetics. Many drugs have been tested in the minds of computers, as Brown puts it. Computer software can analyze the human genome in minutes.

And its these advances, Brown believes, that might be the most important of all. Ultimately, it wont be about making a better, faster smartphone, he says. We may eventually discover how to make more food, create better living conditions and connect more people together. Moores Law could be key to unlocking that.

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50 Years On, Moore’s Law Still Pushes Tech to Double Down

Moore’s Law at 50: The past and future | Computerworld

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.

When you’re strapping on the latest smart watch or ogling an iPhone, you probably aren’t thinking of Moore’s Law, which for 50 years has been used as a blueprint to make computers smaller, cheaper and faster.

Without Moore’s Law it’s quite possible that new types of computers like Microsoft’s HoloLens, a holographic wearable with which users can interact with floating images, would not have been developed. For decades, Moore’s Law has been a guiding star for the development of modern electronics, though in recent years its relevance has been subject to debate.

Moore’s Law isn’t a scientific theory, but a set of observations and predictions made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in an article [click here to download] first published in Electronics Magazine on April 19, 1965, which were subsequently modified. His core prediction states that the density of transistors, or the number of transistors on a given die area, would double every two years, which leads to double the performance. Loosely translated, that means in 18 to 24 months you could buy a computer that is significantly faster than what you have today with the same amount of money.

The tech industry originally interpreted this to mean that making chips would get cheaper with scaling: as transistor density doubles, chips shrink in size, processing speeds up, and the cost per processor declines. For the past five decades, the tech world has based product plans and manufacturing strategies around this concept, leading to smaller, cheaper and faster devices.

Manufacturing advances have also made chips power-efficient, helping squeeze more battery life out of devices.

Without Moore’s Law, “I don’t think we could have a smartphone in the palm of our hand,” said Randhir Thakur, executive vice president and general manager of the Silicon Systems Group at Applied Materials.

But engineers have predicted that Moore’s Law will die in the next decade because of physical and economic challenges. Conventional computers could be replaced by quantum computers and systems with brain-like, or neural, chips, which function differently than current processors. Silicon could also be replaced by chips made using new materials, such as graphene or carbon nanotubes.

Intel applied Moore’s observations first to memory products, with the benefit being lower cost per bit. Then it applied Moore’s Law to integrated circuits, and Intel’s first chip in 1971, the 4004, had 2,300 transistors. Intel’s latest chips have billions of transistors, are 3,500 times faster, and 90,000 times more power efficient.

Since then, Moore’s Law has been flexible enough to adapt to changes in computing. It was the force behind supercharging computer performance in the 1990s, and lowering power consumption in the last decade, said Mark Bohr, senior fellow at Intel.

“The type of performance we had on desktops 15 years ago is matched by laptops and smartphones in our hand today,” Bohr said.

Moore’s Law is being used as a guiding principle in the development of wearables, Internet of Things devices and even robots that can recognize objects and make decisions. It also affects a diverse range of products such as cars, health devices and home appliances, which are relying more on integrated circuits for functionality, Bohr said.

Intel innovations in manufacturing, Moore’s Law presentation.

But engineers agree that Moore’s Law could be on its last legs as chips scale down to atomic scale, and even Intel is having a tough time keeping pace. Gordon Moore has revisited Moore’s Law over the last 50 years and at multiple times expressed doubts about its longevity. In a recent interview with IEEE Spectrum, Moore said keeping up was getting “more and more difficult.”

Intel’s innovations have kept Moore’s Law chugging along, with the most recent technology advance being FinFET, in which transistors are placed on top of each other so more features can be packed on chips. Intel has spent billions of dollars establishing new factories, and innovations such as strained silicon, high-k metal gate and FinFET have helped give Moore’s Law a long lease on life.

“Because Intel works hard on it, new, computing-hungry applications are emerging every day,” said Xian-He Sun, distinguished professor of computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

But it is becoming difficult to etch an increasing number of features on ever-smaller chips, which are increasingly susceptible to a wide range of errors and defects. More attention is required in designing and making chips, and additional processes and personnel need to be put in place to prevent errors.

In addition, with research under way into new materials and technologies, silicon may be on its way out, a change that could fundamentally transform Moore’s Law. There’s a lot of interest in a family of so-called III-V materials — compounds based on elements from the third and fifth columns of the periodic chart — such as gallium arsenide or indium gallium arsenide.

“Moore’s Law is morphing into something that is about new materials,” said Alex Lidow, a semiconductor industry veteran and CEO of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC).

EPC is making a possible silicon replacement, gallium nitride (GAN), which is a better conductor of electrons, giving it performance and power-efficiency advantages over silicon, Lidow said. GAN is already being used for power conversion and wireless communications, and could make its way to digital chips someday, though Lidow couldn’t provide a timeline.

“For the first time in 60 years there are valid candidates where it’s about superior material rather than smaller feature size,” Lidow said.

The economics of manufacturing smaller and faster chips are also tumbling. It’s getting more expensive to make advanced factories, and the returns on making those chips are diminishing. Important tools like EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography, which transfers circuit patterns onto substrates, would make it possible to shrink chips to even smaller sizes but aren’t yet available.

“The semiconductor has always faced challenges, which have been speed bumps. Now we’re going up against a wall,” said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

Experts can’t predict where Moore’s Law will be years from now, but it will eventually fall as the physics and economics of making smaller chips no longer make practical sense. Nevertheless, the legacy of Moore’s Law will live on as a model for bringing down the price of components, which leads to cheaper devices and computers, McGregor said.

Moore’s 1965 article ushered in an era of ever-increasing technological change. “We’ve taken servers the size of a room down to a mobile chip. It’s amazing what we’ve done in that period of time,” McGregor said.

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Moore’s Law at 50: The past and future | Computerworld

Moore’s Law | MIT Technology Review

The computer chip has evolved from a simple integrated circuit to a microprocessor with millions of transistors.

In 1965, when Fairchild Semiconductors Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors on a computer chip would double every year , the most advanced chips had around 60 components . In 1975, Moorewho cofounded Intel in 1968reconsidered his prediction and revised the rate of doubling to roughly every two years. So far, history has proved him more or less right. But growth may soon slow as engineers find it harder to contend with the heat produced and power consumed by transistor-crammed chips (see Parallel Universe).

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Moore’s Law | MIT Technology Review

Moore’s Law is the reason your iPhone is so thin and cheap …

An aerial view of Intel’s Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro, Ore., with D1X, center, the site’s newest factory for developing cutting-edge chips. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

To get a sense of what society owes to Moore’s Law, just ask what the world would look like if Intel co-founder Gordon Moore never made his famous 1965 observation that the processing power of computers would increase exponentially.


“It is almost unimaginable,” said Genevieve Bell, a cultural anthropologist for Intel.

“The implications would be so dramatic, I struggle to put it in words,” said Adrian Valenzuela, marketing director for processors for Texas Instruments.

Jeff Bokor, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, found at least one: “Cataclysmic.”

The comments aren’t wild hyperbole; they underscore just how significant an impact one little observation has had on the world. Moore’s Law is more than a guideline for computer processor, or chip, manufacturing. It’s become a shorthand definition for innovation at regular intervals, and has become a self-fulfilling prophecy driving the tech industry.

Are you happy about your sleeker iPhone 6 or cheaper Chromebook? You can thank Moore’s Law.

With Sunday marking the 50th anniversary of Moore’s observation, we decided to take stock of Moore’s Law. CNET staff reporter Ben Fox Rubin offers an in-depth look at the work that semiconductor manufacturers are putting in to make sure the rate of improvement is sustainable. Tomorrow, CNET senior reporter Stephen Shankland explores alternative technologies and the future of Moore’s Law while senior reporter Shara Tibken looks at Samsung’s lesser known presence in the field.

But first, let’s explore the effect of Moore’s Law throughout history — and start by dispelling some misconceptions. Most importantly, Moore’s Law is not actually a law like Isaac Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. In a paper titled, “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits,” published by the trade journal Electronics in 1965, Moore, who studied chemistry and physics, predicted that the number of components in an integrated circuit — the brains of a computer — would double every year, boosting performance.

A decade later, he slowed his prediction to a doubling of components every two years.

It wasn’t until Carver Mead, a professor at the California Institute of Technology who worked with Moore at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, coined the term “Moore’s Law” in 1975 that it gained widespread recognition in the tech world. It became a goal for an entire industry to aspire to — and hit — for five decades.

“[It’s] a name that has stuck beyond anything that I think could have been anticipated,” Moore, now 86, said in an interview with Intel earlier this year.

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Moore’s Law specifically refers to transistors, which switch electrical signals on and off so that devices can process information and perform tasks. They serve as the building blocks for the brains inside all our smartphones, tablets and digital gadgets.

The more transistors on a chip, the faster that chip processes information.

To keep Moore’s Law going, chip manufacturers have to keep shrinking the size of the transistors so more can be placed together with each subsequent generation of the technology. The original size of a transistor was half an inch long. Today’s newest chips contain transistors that are smaller than a virus, an almost unimaginably small scale. Chipmakers including Intel and Samsung are pushing to shrink them even more.

But size doesn’t really matter when it comes to appreciating Moore’s Law. More important is the broader idea that things get better — smarter — over time.

The law has resulted in dramatic increases in performance in smaller packages. The Texas Instruments processor that powers the navigation system in a modern Ford vehicle is nearly 1.8 million times more powerful than the Launch Vehicle Digital Computer that helped astronauts navigate their way to the moon in 1969.

The iPhone 6 in your pocket is more powerful than computers from a decade ago. CNET

And Apple’s iPhone 6 is roughly 1 million times more powerful than an IBM computer from 1975 — which took up an entire room — according to a rough estimate by UC Berkeley’s Bokor. The iPhone, priced starting at $650, is also a lot cheaper than a full-fledged desktop computer selling anywhere between $1,000 and $4,000 a decade ago — and it can do so much more.

Just as critical is the time element of Moore’s Law: the doubling of transistors every two years meant the entire tech industry — from consumer electronics manufacturers to companies that make the equipment to manufacture chips and everything in between — had a consistent rate that everyone could work at.

“It created a metronome,” Bell said. “It’s given us this incredible notion of constant progress that is constantly changing.”

It also set a pace that companies need to keep, or else get left behind, according to Moore. “Rather than become something that chronicled the progress of the industry, Moore’s Law became something that drove it,” Moore said in an online interview with semiconductor industry supplier ASML in December.

While he didn’t think his observation would hold true forever, chipmakers don’t seem to be slowing down their efforts. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, so to the industry it seems like a law,” said Tsu-Jae King Liu, a professor of microelectronics at UC Berkeley.

Nowadays, everyone assumes technology will just get better, faster and cheaper. If we don’t have a sophisticated enough processor to power a self-driving car now, a faster one will emerge in a year or two.

Remove Moore’s Law, and that assumption no longer holds true. Without a unifying observation to propel the industry forward, the state of integrated circuits and components might be decades behind.

“It’s an exponential curve, and we would be much earlier on that curve,” Valenzuela said. “I’m happy to say I don’t have to carry my 1980s Zack Morris phone.”

Intel’s Bell imagines a more “horrifying” world without integrated circuits, one in which everything is mechanized, and common tropes of technology such as smartphones and even modern telephone service wouldn’t exist. “The Internet would have been impossible,” she said.

It’s not a completely implausible alternate reality. Bell noted that many industries haven’t moved as quickly to embrace new technology and ideas. The internal combustion engine hasn’t changed much since Henry Ford’s Model T more than a century ago, and it’s only in the last several years that automakers have embraced batteries that power the engine.

Speaking of batteries, there’s a reason why our smartphones lose their juice faster and faster — battery technology hasn’t kept pace with the advancement of the processor and its capabilities.

“Not too many industries have a clearly defined expectation in improvement of capability and cost benefits over such a long time,” said H.S. Philip Wong, an engineering professor at Stanford.

It’s a lot easier to document the progress achieved through Moore’s Law. Increasingly sophisticated chips have resulted in not just more powerful standalone devices, but an ecosystem of gadgets that can talk to each other.

As Bell said, there would be no Internet without Moore’s Law, which means Google or Facebook would never have existed, and Netflix would still be mailing DVDs (VHS tapes?) to you.

“It’s a technology that’s been much more open-ended than I would have thought in 1965 or 1975,” Moore said. “And it’s not obvious yet when it will come to the end.”

Intel’s button-sized Curie processor for wearables wouldn’t be possible without Moore’s Law. James Martin/CNET

Smaller processors have driven interest in the Internet of Things (IoT), or the idea that physical objects around us can be connected to the Internet and to each other. TI’s Valenzuela said he remembers selling basic thermostats using rudimentary chips. Now smart thermostats built by Google’s Nest have a processor powerful enough to run a smartphone.

Intel demonstrated the potential for the IoT idea in January at the Consumer Electronics Show with Curie, a button-size module designed to power smart wearable devices with a low-power processor. It’s the reason why we’re talking about self-driving cars, smart transportation systems, smart homes, smart watches and even clothes equipped with Internet-connected sensors.

“It’s really like the water that we drink and air that we breathe,” Wong said about society’s dependence on the innovations brought on by Moore’s Law. “We can’t survive without it.”

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Moore’s Law is the reason your iPhone is so thin and cheap …

Moore’s Law and The Secret World Of Ones And Zeroes

SciShow explains how SciShow exists — and everything else that’s ever been made or used on a computer — by exploring how transistors work together in circuits to make all computing possible. Like all kinds of science, it has its limitations, but also awesome possibilities. ———- Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/artist/52/SciShow

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Sources: http://www.mooreslaw.org/ http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/… http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Unix-and-In… http://homepage.cs.uri.edu/book/binar… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm67w… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNN_t… http://www.newscientist.com/article/m… http://www.newscientist.com/article/m… http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Unix-and-In… http://www.extremetech.com/computing/… http://www.amasci.com/miscon/speed.html http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2013/comput…

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Moore’s Law and The Secret World Of Ones And Zeroes

Moore Law Firm

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Moore Law Firm

Louisiana Premises Liability Law – Irwin Fritchie Urquhart …

On August 4, 2006, Chinita Weber filed a lawsuit against Metropolitan Hospice alleging wrongful death and survival claims on behalf of her aunt, Mary London, who died at the facility in the days following Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane impacted the New Orleans area on August 29, 2005. Ms. Weber asserted that Metropolitan Hospice was negligent in causing her aunts death for two reasons. First, the facility was negligent in failing to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Katrina. Second, the facility was negligent in failing to provide adequate backup electrical power, thereby subjecting her aunt to extreme heat and unsanitary conditions, which she claimed ultimately caused her aunts death.

Metropolitan Hospice filed an exception of no right of action, arguing that the Louisiana statutes governing wrongful death and survival claims did not allow Ms. Weber the right to bring such claims on behalf of her aunt. Louisiana law permits only limited classes of beneficiaries to bring such claims, and a niece does not qualify as such a beneficiary. The trial court granted the exception, but allowed Ms. Weber thirty days to amend her petition to properly state a claim.

Ms. Weber had herself appointed as representative of her aunts succession, and filed an amended petition asserting wrongful death and survival claims as her aunts succession representative. Metropolitan Hospice responded by filing two exceptions: (1) an exception of no right of action arguing that as succession representative, Ms. Weber had no right to assert a wrongful death claim, and (2) an exception of prescription arguing that Ms. Webers survival claim was not timely asserted. The trial court granted both motions, and Ms. Weber appealed.

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial courts decision. With regard to the exception of no right of action, the appellate court affirmed the trial courts dismissal of Ms. Webers wrongful death claim because Louisiana law does not allow a succession representative the right to bring a wrongful death claim. Nevertheless, the appellate court noted that a successor representative does have the right to bring a survival claim on behalf of the deceased person. Thus, whether Ms. Weber could continue pursuing the survival claim hinged on whether the appellate court agreed that the survival claim was untimely.

Louisiana law requires that survival claims be filed within one year from the date of the decedents death. While undoubtedly Ms. Weber filed her original 2006 lawsuit within one year of her aunts death, the key issue was whether the filing of her amended complaint in 2011 could relate back to the date that she filed her original lawsuit on August 4, 2006.

In accordance with Louisianas relation back doctrine, four factors determine whether an amended petition that either adds or substitutes a plaintiff can be treated as if it were filed on the date that the original petition was filed. They are: (1) if the amended claim arises out of the same conduct, transaction or occurrence as the original claim, (2) the defendant knew or should have known of the involvement of the new plaintiff, (3) the new and old plaintiffs are sufficiently related so that the new party is not entirely new or unrelated, and (4) the defendant is not prejudiced in preparing its defense. The appellate court determined that Ms. Webers amended lawsuit met these requirements.

The courts analysis did not end there, however. If Ms. Webers claims against Metropolitan Hospice could be considered medical malpractice claims rather than negligence claims, then her claims would still be untimely since Louisiana law requires that medical malpractice claims be filed within three years of the date of the decedents death without exception. Relying on other Louisiana decisions involving similar Katrina-related claims, the appellate court determined that Ms. Webers claims were not, in fact, medical malpractice claims. Accordingly, the court held that Ms. Webers survival claims were timely as her amended complaint related back to the date that she filed her original lawsuit.

Take-Away: In cases where someone has died as a result of the alleged negligence of a premises owner, the owner may be sued for damages sustained by the decedent prior to his death and damages sustained by surviving family members as a result of their loss.

This article was co-authored by Lizzi Richard, an associate at Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC.

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Louisiana Premises Liability Law – Irwin Fritchie Urquhart …

Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet …

Moores Law is an engaging biography and a definitive account of the man behind the famous prediction. The authors are Arnold Thackray, David C. Brock and Rachel Jones a chemist, a historian and a journalist whose varied expertise makes for an informed, thorough and readable chronicle…. Gordon Moores forecast was spectacularly right. Yet, as this compelling biography proves, even if he had never hazarded it, he would remain a legend in Silicon Valley. Wall Street Journal

Arnold Thackray, David Brock and Rachel Jones transform Moore from a man doing something inscrutable in the margins to a comprehensible, fiercely driven technophile who shaped history from the inside out. Nature

Thackray, Brock, and Jones run through Moores multifaceted life with a refreshing lack of tech talk or science jargon, revealing a man who realized his dreams while maintaining a stable, affirming personal life. Publishers Weekly

[An] admiring, richly detailed book…. [T]echies will be delighted with its full treatment of an important figure often overshadowed by such luminaries as Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. Kirkus Reviews

Finally, Gordon Moore gets the biography he deserves! One of the foremost pioneers of the digital revolution, he is a visionary, engineer, and revered leader. His ‘law’ defined and guided the growth of computing power, and his business acumen helped to create Silicon Valley. This is an inspiring and instructive tale of how brilliance and leadership can coexist with humility and decency in a truly extraordinary person. Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

Moore’s Law is not only a definitive biography of a legendary figure in computing, but a fascinating account of the forces that triggeredand sustainthe digital revolution that has changed life for all of us. Steven Levy, author of Hackers and In the Plex

“Gordon Moores story is one of disruptive innovation on the grandest scale, practiced by a brilliant technologist. Now at last we have the book that tells the story. Moores Law offers a compelling, absorbing account of Silicon Valley, and its role in human progress.” Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of The Innovators Dilemma

If you think you know Moores Law, prepare to be enlightened. If you think you know Gordon Moore, prepare to be enthralled. And if all of this is new to you, prepare for the ride of your life. This is the definitive story of the central theorem of the digital age, the man behind it, and its ongoing impact on us all. John Hollar, President & CEO, Computer History Museum

With care and color, Moores Law tells us how Gordon Moore, at the center of the IT revolution, applied his knowledge and insight in a quiet and effective way. When Gordon talked, everyone listened. George P. Shultz, former U. S. Secretary of State and Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

A remarkable book about a remarkable man, told with great style and refreshing candor. Carver Mead, the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science, Caltech and winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Arnold Thackray and his co-authors integrate business history with the history of science and technology with great success, rendering this biography of Silicon Valleys most important revolutionary a captivating and deeply illuminating read. Moores Law is also a signal contribution to the study of California history, showing how the social and cultural circumstances of the Bay Area enabled Gordon Moores creativity. David A. Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor of History, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

“I can remember when a transistor radio had one transistor in itand now a giveaway bottle opener containing 8 billion of them is sitting on my desk. Gordon Moore and a small circle of accomplices, inseparable from the California landscape in which their story took form, were at the center of the most radical transformation in the history of technology. This is a definitive chronicle: authoritative, detailed, and well told.” George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral and Darwin Among the Machines

Almost everyone knows Moores Law. Almost no one knows the Moore behind this law. Finally a book describing the quiet, unassuming technology godfather of Silicon Valley. A great read about a great man whose work truly changed the world. Craig R. Barrett, Former CEO & Chairman, Intel Corporation

This marvelous and well-written book about Gordon Moore captures his seminal role not only in Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel Corp, but also in the saga of Silicon Valley. The authors tell how Intel was managed into one of the great successes of all time. Gordon Moore in his quiet, non-threatening, and brainy manner created an atmosphere in which new ideas flourished and growth was encouraged. Moore’s Law, his remarkable insight, has proved prescient. Woven into this story is the modest and loving relationship between Gordon and Betty, his wife of 65 years. Arthur Rock, Co-Founder of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Davis & Rock and original investor of Fairchild Semiconductor

A remarkable insight into the man who did so much to make Silicon Valley. David Morgenthaler, founder of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Morgenthaler Ventures

Arnold Thackray, active in the public life of scholarship, is a distinguished academic and the founding CEO of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. David C. Brock is a recognized authority on electronics, and Rachel Jones is a London journalist specializing in technology and entrepreneurship.

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Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet …

Moore’s Law: The rule that really matters in tech – CNET

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore speaking in 2007 at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Year in, year out, Intel executive Mike Mayberry hears the same doomsday prediction: Moore’s Law is going to run out of steam. Sometimes he even hears it from his own co-workers.

But Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who 47 years ago predicted a steady, two-year cadence of chip improvements, keeps defying the pessimists because a brigade of materials scientists like Mayberry continue to find ways of stretching today’s silicon transistor technology even as they dig into alternatives. (Such as, for instance, super-thin sheets of carbon graphene.)

Oh, and don’t forget the money that’s driving that hunt for improvement. IDC predicts chip sales will rise from $315 billion this year to $380 billion in 2016. For decades, that revenue has successfully drawn semiconductor research out of academia, through factories, and into chips that have powered everything from a 1960s mainframe to a 2012 iPhone 5.

The result: Moore’s Law has long passed being mere prognostication. It’s the marching order for a vast, well-funded industry with a record of overcoming naysayers’ doubts. Researchers keep finding ways to maintain a tradition that two generations ago would have been science fiction: That computers will continue to get smaller even as they get more powerful.

“If you’re only using the same technology, then in principle you run into limits. The truth is we’ve been modifying the technology every five or seven years for 40 years, and there’s no end in sight for being able to do that,” said Mayberry, vice president of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group.

Plenty of other industries aren’t as fortunate. You don’t see commercial supersonic airplane travel, home fusion reactors, or 1,000-mile-per-gallon cars. But the computing industry has a fundamental flexibility that others lack: it’s about bits, not atoms.

“Automobiles and planes are dealing with the physical world,” such as the speed of sound and the size and mass of the humans they carry, said Sam Fuller, chief technology officer of Analog Devices, a chipmaker that’s been in the electronics business even longer than Intel. “Computing and information processing doesn’t have that limitation. There’s no fundamental size or weight to bits. You don’t necessarily have the same constraints you have in these other industries. There potentially is a way forward.”

To shrink its microprocessor circuitry elements to today’s 22-nanometer size — just 22 billionths of a meter — Intel had to develop a technology called tri-gate transistors in which silicon semiconductor material protrudes in fin-shaped ridges. Intel

That means that even if Moore’s Law hits a wall and chip components stop shrinking, there are other ways to boost computer performance.

This chart from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s seminal 1965 paper showed the cost of transistors decreased with new manufacturing processes even as the number of transistors on a chip increased. Intel

Before we get too carried away with lauding Moore’s Law, be forewarned: Even industry optimists, Moore included, think that about a decade from now there could be trouble. Yes, all good things come to an end, and at some point those physical limits people have been predicting will turn out to be real.

To understand those limits and how they may be overcome, I talked to researchers at the big chip companies, academics, and industry gurus. I wanted to go beyond what what most of us think we know about semiconductors and hear it from the experts. Do they have doubts? What are they doing about those doubts? The overwhelming consensus among the chip cognescenti, I found, was, yes, there’s a stumbling block a decade or so from now. But don’t be surprised if we look back at that prediction 20 years from now and laugh.

For related coverage, see what would happen if Moore’s Law fizzled and a Q&A with Intel’s Mike Mayberry.

Strictly speaking Moore’s Law is named after Gordon Moore, who in a 1965 paper in Electronics Magazine observed an annual doubling in the number of chip elements called transistors. He refined his view in 1975 with a two-year cycle in an updated paper. “I didn’t think it would be especially accurate,” Moore said in 2005, but it has in fact proved to be. And now, Intel times its tick-tock clock to Moore’s Law, updating its chip architecture and its manufacturing technology on alternating years.

Here’s a very specific illustration of what Moore’s Law has meant. The first transistor, made in 1947 at Bell Labs, was assembled by hand. In 1964, there were about 30 transistors on a chip measuring about 4 square millimeters. Intel’s “Ivy Bridge” quad-core chips, the third-generation Core i7 found found in the newest Mac and Windows PCs, has 1.4 billion transistors on a surface area of 160 square millimeters — and there are chips with even more.

A transistor is the electrical switch at the heart of a microprocessor, similar to a wall switch that governs whether electric current will flow to light a lamp. A transistor element called a gate controls whether electrons can flow across the transistor from its “source” side to its “drain” side. Flowing electrons can be taken logically as a “1,” but if they don’t flow the transistor reads “0.” Millions of transistors connected together on a modern chip process information by influencing each other’s electrical state.

Mears Technologies hopes its transistor technology will extend the lifespan of traditional silicon transistors, the tiny semiconductor switches at the heart of microprocessors. This cross section of a transistor shows the gate across the top that controls whether current flows in a silicon channel, the darker source and drain areas on either end of the current pathway, and an area marked in green area where Mears’ MST technology is added. The MST technology gives more precise control over elements added to the silicon channel, a process Mears says reduces variability so smaller transistors that consume less power are practical. Mears Technologies

In today’s chips, a stretch of silicon connects the source to the drain. Silicon is a type of material known as a “semiconductor” because, depending on conditions, it’ll either act as a conductor that transmits electrons or as an insulator that blocks them. Applying a little electrical voltage to the transistor’s gate controls whether that electron current flows.

To keep up with Moore’s Law, engineers must keep shrinking the size of transistors. Intel, the leader in the race, currently uses a manufacturing process with 22-nanometer features. That’s 22 billionths of a meter, or roughly a 4,000th the width of a human hair. For contrast, Intel’s first chip, the 4004 from 1971, was built with a 10-micron (10,000-nanometer) process. That’s about a tenth the width of a human hair.

Intel’s Ivy Bridge generation of processors is an example of how hard it can be to sustain that process.

To make the leap from the earlier 32nm process to today’s 22nm process, Intel had to rework the basic “planar” transistor structure. Previously, the electrons traveled in a flat silicon channel laid flat into the plane of the silicon wafer and with the gate perched on top. To work around the limits of that approach, Intel flipped the planar transistor’s silicon on its side into a fin that juts up out of the plane of the chip. The gate straddles this fin the way a person might straddle a low fence with both legs. To improve performance, Intel can put as many as three of these fins in a single transistor.

The result is a “tri-gate” chip design that shrinks without suffering debilitating new levels of “leakage,” which takes place when current flows even when a transistor is switched off. And it means Intel has one more “shrink” of the chip manufacturing process under its belt.

Developing the tri-gate transistors wasn’t easy: Intel researchers built the company’s first finned transistor in 2002, nine years before it was ready for mass-market production. And it wasn’t the only challenge; other fixes include making gates out of metal, connecting transistors with copper rather than aluminum wires, and using “strained” rather than ordinary silicon for the channel between source and drain.

In 2013, Intel plans another shrink to a 14nm process. Then comes 10nm, 7nm, and, in 2019, 5nm.

And it’s not just Intel making up these numbers. In the chip business, a fleet of companies depend on coordinated effort to make sure Moore’s Law stays intact. Combining academic research results with internal development and cross-industry cooperation, they grapple with quantum-mechanics problems such as electron tunneling and current leakage — a bugaboo of incredibly tiny components in which a transistor sucks power even when it’s switched off.

Doom and gloom Given the engineering challenges, a little pessimism hardly seems out of place.

Intel’s current chip manufacturing road map extends to the 5nm process “node,” scheduled to arrive in chips in 2019. Intel

A 2005 Slate article bore the title, “The End of Moore’s Law.” In 1997, the New York Times declared, “Incredible Shrinking Transistor Nears Its Ultimate Limit: The Laws of Physics,” and in another piece quoted SanDisk’s CEO forecasting a “brick wall” in 2014. In 2009, IBM Fellow Carl Anderson predicted continuing exponential growth only for a generation or two of new manufacturing techniques, and then only for high-end chips.

Even Intel has fretted about the end by predicting trouble ahead getting past 16nm processes.

In decades past, Moore himself was worried about how to manufacture chips with features measuring 1 micron, then later chips with features measuring 0.25 microns, or 250 nanometers. A human hair is about 100 microns wide.

Yes, there are fundamental limits — for example, quantum mechanics describes a phenomenon called tunneling where the position of an electron can’t be pinned down too precisely. From a chip design point of view, that turns out to mean that an electron can essentially hop from source to drain, degrading a chip with leakage current.

So is there an end to Moore’s Law? In a 2007 interview, Moore himself said, “There is.” He continued:

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That was five years ago, and few seem to want to venture too much farther beyond Moore’s prediction.

“I think we have at least a decade before we start getting into issues,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “I still give it another decade,” added Robert Mears, founder and president of Mears Technologies, which has developed a technology called MST CMOS designed to improve the performance of the conventional silicon channel.

Beyond silicon Although Moore’s Law might not continue if transistors can’t be shrunk, the post-silicon future shouldn’t be overlooked. When traditional silicon transistors eventually run out of gas, there are plenty of alternatives waiting in the wings.

“The most probable outcome is that silicon technology will find a way to keep scaling, some way continue to deliver more value with succeeding generations,” said Nvidia Chief Scientist Bill Dally.

One likely candidate keeps the same basic structure as today’s transistors but speeds them up by breaking out of today’s constraints in the periodic table of the elements. In transistors now, the source, drain, and channel are made from silicon, which inhabits a column of the periodic table called group IV.

But it’s possible to use indium arsenide, gallium arsenide, gallium nitride or other so-called III-V materials from group III and group V. Being from different groups on the periodic table means transistor materials would have different properties, and the big one here is better electron mobility. That means electrons move faster and transistors therefore can work faster.

“You can imagine staying with fairly traditional transistors, moving to silicon-germanium, then III-V structures,” Fuller said. But that’s mostly a stopgap. “There is some potential future in that, but it pretty quickly runs into similar limits that hit silicon. There may be [performance improvement] factors of two, four, maybe eight to be gained.”

IBM is working on replacing silicon channels in transistors with carbon nanotubes. These images show a schematic and real-world images of such a device. Image b shows a top view, image c shows a cross section, and image d shows an end-on view. IBM

Another tweak could replace the silicon channel with “nanowires,” super-thin wires made of various semiconductor materials (including, it so happens, lowly silicon itself). More exotic and more challenging is the possibility of using carbon nanotubes instead. These are made of a cylindrical mesh of interlinked carbon atoms that can carry current, but there are lots of difficulties: connecting them to the rest of the transistor, improving their not-so-hot semiconductor properties, and ensuring the nanotubes are sized and aligned correctly.

Glorious graphene Which brings us to one of the most promising post-silicon candidates: graphene, a flat honeycomb lattice of carbon that resembles atomic chicken wire. If you roll up a sheet of graphene, you get a nanotube, but it turns out the flat form also can be used as a semiconductor.

One advantage graphene holds over carbon nanotubes is the possibility that it can be manufactured directly as a step in the wafer processing that goes on in chip factories, instead of being fabricated separately and added later. (This is a very big deal in the intricate and minutely choreographed business of chip manufacture.) Another is that it’s got fantastically high electron mobility, which could make for very fast switching speeds if graphene is used to connect source and drain in a transistor.

“I think graphene is very promising,” Fuller said.

But graphene has plenty of challenges. First on the list: it lacks the good “band gap,” a separation in energy levels that determines whether a semiconductor conducts electrons or insulates. Graphene by itself has a band gap of zero, meaning that it just conducts electricity and fails as a semiconductor.

“Graphene has some very nice properties, but as it stands at the moment, it doesn’t have a proper band gap,” Robert Mears, president of Mears Technologies. “It’s not really a replacement for silicon or other semiconductor materials. It’s a good connect medium, conductor, but not necessarily a good switch at the moment.”

IBM has figured out how to build a graphene-based transistor on an integrated circuit geared for wireless communication purposes, not for computing. IBM

Here’s how Fuller describes an ideal transistor: “When you turn on, it comes on strong, and when you turn it off, it consumes almost no power. That’s what you want for a great logic gate.” The problem so far, though. is that “the graphene transistors today have been hard to turn off.”

But there are ways to give the material a band gap, including using two separated strips of graphene fabricated as “nanoribbons.” Varying the placement of the transistor gate or gates also can help. If scientists work out the challenges, the result could be a transistor that’s not necessarily smaller, but that is a lot faster.

“We’re in the early days of exploring the use of graphene, like we were with silicon a long time ago — in the 1950s, maybe,” Fuller said.

But wait, there’s more Another radical approach is called spintronics, which relies on information being transmitted within a chip using a property of electrons called spin.

“If you could use spin to store a 1 or a 0, rather than charge or absence of charge, it doesn’t have the same thermodynamic limits that moving charge around does,” Fuller said. “You probably wouldn’t run into the same power limits.”

Silicon photonics, in which light rather than electrons carry information, could be involved in future chips.

“That can be a great partial solution between chips, or even on chips,” Fuller said. Today, a large fraction of a chip’s power is used to keep the chip components marching lockstep by broadcasting ticks of the chip’s clock, but there are promising research projects to do that with optical links.

There are limits to how short optical links get, said Mears, who by the way invented the erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) technology that vastly improved fiber-optic network capacity. The problem: the wavelength of light is inconveniently large compared to chip components, he said.

“In spite of it having been one of my main research subjects, I’m not a great fan of optics on a chip,” Mears said. “Any kind of optical waveguide on a chip will look huge compared to the kinds of devices you can put on a chip.”

The chip industry treadmill involves tackling a constant series of challenges. Intel has maintained an ability to predict what’ll happen for about the next decade. Intel

Fuller concurred. “What makes it great for communicating over long distances makes it difficult to make a logic gate out of them: photons don’t interact with each other. If you want to build a NOR gate or NAND gate [two forms of basic logic gates out of which chips are assembled], you need to switch from photons to electrons for the gate, then back to photons to transmit the data,” he said.

Mayberry is keeping an eye on so-called spintronics, but as with many technologies he’s cautious. “A spin wave travels at a slower rate than an electron wave,” he notes. There are also numerous manufacturing challenges.

Beyond that, there’s a wide range of even more exotic research under way — quantum computing, DNA computing, spin wave devices, exitonic field-effect transistors, spin torque majority gates, bilayer pseudospin field-effect transistors, and more. An industry consortium called the “Nanoelectronics Research Initiative” is monitoring the ideas.

“There are something like 18 different candidates they’re keeping track of. There’s no clear winner, but there are emerging distinctive trends that will help guide future research,” Mayberry said.

It’s certainly possible that computing progress could slow or fizzle. But before getting panicky about it, look at the size of the chip business, its importance to the global economy, the depth of the research pipeline, and the industry’s continued ability to deliver the goods.

“There’s an enormous amount of capital that’s highly motivated to make sure this continues,” said Nvidia’s Dally. “The good news is we’re pretty clever, so we’ll come through for them.”

Continued here:

Moore’s Law: The rule that really matters in tech – CNET

Michaels Experience Moore’s Law Advancing Your Legal …

Michael Moorehas spent more than 25 years in the legal profession in private practice,as General Counsel for a public corporation,as aretained legal recruiter and consultant andasalaw firm executive.

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MichaelMoore provides value to law firms through strategic organizational and resource optimization. He has implemented proven methods to increase both associate and partner productivity, improve operational results and increase profits. He has helped firms with strategic planning, marketing programs andlateral recruitment as a growth option.

Michaelhas publishednumerous articleson a variety of legal topics such aseffective client development,social media use for lawyers,and law firm management including lawyer compensation, staff retention and smart growth. A few examples of his work can be found in the Articles section.

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Moores Law – definition of Moores Law by The Free Dictionary


The prediction that the number of transistors that can be placed on an affordable integrated circuit will double during a specific time period, usually said to be every 18 months or every 2 years.

[After Gordon Moore, (born 1929), American entrepreneur and developer of microchips who first proposed the principle.]

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Moores Law – definition of Moores Law by The Free Dictionary

Mooers’ law – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the observation regarding integrated circuits, see Moore’s law.

Mooers’ law is an empirical observation of behavior made by American computer scientist Calvin Mooers in 1959. The observation is made in relation to information retrieval and the interpretation of the observation is used commonly throughout the information profession both within and outside its original context.

An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it.

Mooers argued that information is at risk of languishing unused due not only on the effort required to assimilate it but also to any fallout that could arise from the discovery of information that conflicts with the users personal, academic or corporate interests. In interacting with new information, a user runs the risk of proving their work incorrect or even irrelevant. Instead, Mooers argued, users prefer to remain in a state of safety in which new arguments are ignored in an attempt to save potential embarrassment or reprisal from supervisors.[2]

The more commonly used interpretation of Mooers’ law is considered to be a derivation of the principle of least effort first stated by George Kingsley Zipf. This interpretation focuses on the amount of effort that will be expended to use and understand a particular information retrieval system before the information seeker ‘gives up’, and the Law is often paraphrased to increase the focus on the retrieval system:

The more difficult and time consuming it is for a customer to use an information system, the less likely it is that he will use that information system.

J. Michael Pemberton

Mooers’ Law tells us that information will be used in direct proportion to how easy it is to obtain.

In this interpretation, “painful and troublesome” comes from using the retrieval system.


Mooers’ law – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Uncertain Future of Moores Law


For examples of how digital technology is rapidly, profoundly, and unexpectedly shaping lives across the globe, look no further than todays news: social media and the Arab Spring; the Stuxnet worm and the clandestine cyberwar against Iran; the proliferation of smartphones and tablets; the ubiquitous web and the cloud; Netflix streaming surpassing web surfing on the net; Bradley Mannings data dump to Wikileaks; and Microsoft as the new tech underdog. The digital world is changing rapidly, and so are we.

We have become accustomed to this state of perpetual flux, of this open-endedness in the application and proliferation of new digital technologies. Yet underneath this flux and unpredictability lies a shared certainty: The cost of digital electronics, and the technologies built with them, will dramatically plummet as their power and performance continues to rise exponentially.

This conviction about the future of digital electronicssilicon microchipsis widely known as Moores Law, named after Gordon Moore (a chemist and co-founder of both Fairchild Semiconductor and the Intel Corporation) for his explication of this developmental dynamic in silicon microchips in 1964.

We have already entered into an age of uncertainty about Moores Law itself.

Equal parts economic and technical, this developmental dynamic has been maintained for a half century by the semiconductor industry, through the efforts of thousands of researchers and the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars. Maintaining Moores Law has required a coordinated push in a single, common direction: shrinking the size of the basic building blocks of microchipstiny switches known as planar transistorsand, to use Moores term, cramming more and more of them into the same area of a silicon chip. To semiconductor initiates, this common direction is known as CMOS scaling (CMOS is an acronym for the variety of microchip that rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s). In fact, since the 1990s the semiconductor industry along with its specialty manufacturing tool and materials partners have collaborated on the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, a careful timeline of the problems that must be solved to maintain the traditional pace of change in silicon microchips.

The metronomic pace of CMOS scaling, largely taken for granted outside of certain technical communities, underlies our expectation of continual surprise in the digital world, from the continued proliferation of ever-more-powerful microchips. Our conviction in the reliability of Moores Law profoundly shapes the expectations and decisions of both producers and consumers of electronics-reliant goods and services. From military weapons systems to consumer electronics, product planning is grounded in Moores Law. As individual consumers, our purchasing decisions share this grounding: Who has not waited a year to buy a gadget, with the expectation that next years gadget version 2.0 will deliver much more bang for the buck?

But what weve taken for granted for decades may soon change. On Wednesday, May 4, some of the leading technologists at the Intel Corporation held a press conference to disclose details about their new silicon manufacturing technology. While there was much of interest in the Intel disclosures about the future of silicon microchips and the competitive landscape of the global semiconductor industry, perhaps the most important implication of the presentation has received little comment: We have already entered into an age of uncertainty about Moores Law itself. This conclusion is somewhat ironic, since Intel announced that it had succeeded in developing a new innovation that will extend Moores Law for at least another six years.

What did Intel disclose last month? In essence, Intel announced that it had abandoned the planar transistor, and, therefore, traditional CMOS scaling. As Mark Bohr, one of Intels most senior technologists put it in the press conference Q&A, We can say goodbye to planar transistors.

For the remarkable run of CMOS scaling over the past four decades, a defining feature of planar transistors was that they were flat; hence, their name. As planar transistors were shrunk so that a billion of them could be crammed into a single microchip, one problem became more and more pronounced. They became harder to turn off, a very bad thing for a switch. Solutions to this problem entailed a growing difficulty of their own: The improved transistors were power hungry, anathema to applications like smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

To continue shrinking transistors in order to maintain the pace of performance and cost improvement for microchips, and to untangle itself from this power dilemma, Intel announced a new manufacturing technology that it will begin to use for all of its products next year. In this technology, Intel will replace planar transistors with Tri-Gate transistors. These new transistors are no longer flat, but rather take the form of a minute rail or fin. Indeed, the more generic term of this new form of transistor, used by other semiconductor firms, is finFET. One of the principle virtues of these new non-flat or 3-D transistors is that they are easy to turn off, and thus combine great switching speed with very low power consumption.

At left is a traditional 32-nanometer 2-D transistor, while at right is the newer, smaller, 22-nanometer 3-D transistor.

Intel is making the jump to its Tri-Gate transistors several years ahead of its semiconductor industry rivals, and sees them as providing a basis for its subsequent generation of manufacturing technology in the next six years. This new path to maintaining Moores Law, as the Intel researchers noted, builds on previous deviations in the last five years or more from traditional materials and structures for CMOS scaling. As Bill Holt, the Intel VP for technology development put it, Simple CMOS scalingended a while ago. In the midst of their press conference, the Intel team presented a quote about the move to 3-D transistors from none other than Gordon Moore himself: For years we have seen limits to how small transistors can get. This change in the basic structure is a truly revolutionary approach, and one that should allow Moores Law, and the historic pace of innovation to continue.

While Intels jump to the world beyond traditional CMOS provides a view into the immediate future of the worlds largest chipmaker, a considerable haze of uncertainty now surrounds what its rivals will do in the near term, and what the whole industry will do after six short years. For the immanent 22 nanometer or 22 nm technology for which Intel will use 3-D transistorsand which Intel claims will have the capability of cramming as many as 6 million such transistors into the area occupied by a standard printed periodmany of its major competitors will maintain the planar transistor, and pursue an alternate approach to the power problem known as silicon on insulator. At the upcoming 14 nm technology some three years down the line, the semiconductor industry could bifurcate, with larger firms abandoning planar for 3-D transistorsmoving beyond CMOSwhile smaller firms pursue the silicon on insulator technology.

This handy (and not-at-all corny) video Intel put together illustrates the difference between 2-D and 3-D transistor technology:

Looking out further toward 2016, at the 10 nm technology for which development is already underway, the haze thickens. The optical technology used to form todays microchips becomes increasingly improbable at that level of the nanoscale, and the top contenders to replace it are already late in their development to keep pace with Moores Law. Looking out less than a decade from now to the 7 nm technology that is planned to follow 10 nm, the inherent atomic nature of matter looms as an issue for fabricating uniform devices. The diameter of a silicon atom is 0.2 nm.

As the semiconductor industry drives deeper into the nanoscale, it appears that we are returning to an age of technological uncertainty not dissimilar from the one from which silicon microchips first emerged. Such a return to a period in which the future of electronics was highly uncertain, and developments were far more unpredictable, could be both highly disruptive and incredibly exciting.

Disruption could occur in many forms. Patterns of technological change may become less uniform, with the magnitude of changes and their timescale disaggregating across different technologies. The management and funding of research and innovation may have to undergo considerable revision to adapt to uncertainty. On the one hand this means technological and economic planning may become significantly more difficult. On the other, creative and unexpected new directions in research might abound.

For most of the past 40 years, industry has conducted and financed the bulk of the R&D for CMOS scaling. In an age of increased technological uncertainty, government support of high-risk research may return to prominence. Indeed, direct military funding of R&D and activist, price-insensitive military demand were essential to the initial development of the microchip in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In this era, government research spending on microelectronics was significant, risk-tolerant, and open-ended, supporting a broad array of speculative approaches. It is interesting to note that the semiconductor community looks to DARPA-funded research at the University of California, Berkeley in the late 1990s as the origin of the 3-D transistor approach.

One conclusion to be drawn from Intels recent announcement is that while the immediate future of Moores Law appears clear, the longer term developmental path for electronics is now as, or more, uncertain than it has been for a half century. Previous news of the death of Moores Law has turned out to be exaggerated. The rather incredible extensibility of silicon technology and the creative potentials of the semiconductor community have repeatedly surmounted previous purported barriers. Surely silicon technology and microchips will continue to surprise even the most knowledgeable observers in the years ahead.

Nevertheless, with Intels leap to the world beyond traditional CMOS scaling and the planar transistor we appear to be quickly approaching a regime of increased technological uncertainty. Perhaps this is a return to a more typical state of affairs from a temporary excursion into unprecedented continuous and predictable change. Doubt is not an agreeable condition, Voltaire once quipped, but certainty is an absurd one.

David C. Brock is an historian of technology and the co-author of Makers of the Microchip (MIT Press, 2010). Brock is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and is also affiliated with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tags: Computing, information-technology, Intel, Moore’s Law

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