Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel , predicted technological advancement for decades.
Gordon Moore , a titan of the tech industry, passed away Friday at the age of 94. The Intel co-founder became famous for “ Moore’s Law ”
What is Moore’s Law?
Gordon Moore indicated that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit was going to double every two years.
In 1965, Moore estimated that the number of transistors would double every year. The then director of research and development at Fairchild Semiconductor gave this prediction for a special issue of Electronics magazine . In 1975, he adjusted his projection to every two years.
In a 2015 interview , Moore spoke proudly.
“The integrated circuit had been around for a few years. The first ones came onto the market with about 30 components on the chip (transistors, resistors, etc.). I went back to the beginning of the technology I considered fundamental, the planar transistor, and realized that the number of components had doubled every year. And I did some crazy extrapolation saying it was going to keep doubling every year for the next 10 years.”
And it turned out to be surprisingly correct. A colleague of mine saw it and called it Moore’s Law. It has been applied to much more than semiconductors. Anything that changes exponentially today is called Moore’s Law . I’m pleased to take all the credit.”
More than a law, it is an observation and projection that has guided the technology industry for decades.
Is Moore’s Law dead?
In 2023, there are discussions in the industry about whether Moore’s Law will hold up. We are no longer talking about thousands of circuits, but billions.
From Intel , a company co-founded by Moore, it is expected to reach one trillion transistors by 2030, maintaining the trend.
“For the first 40 years, profits came primarily from innovations in our process. In the future, profits will come from both process and packaging innovations. Our processes will continue to deliver historic density improvements, while our 2D and 3D stacking technologies give architects and designers more tools to increase the number of transistors per device. As we look forward to breakthrough technologies like High NA, RibbonFET, PowerVia, Foveros Omni and Direct, and others, we see no end to innovation and therefore no end to Moore’s Law,” Intel says .
Rival company AMD is also projected to keep Moore’s Law alive.
“I see some exciting new transistor technology coming in the next six to eight years, and I’m very, very clear about the advances we’re going to make to keep improving transistor technology, but they’re more expensive,” said Michael Papermaster, chief technical officer at AMD , to The Register in 2022.
Instead, another semiconductor giant, NVIDIA , postulates another reality. In announcing its RTX 40 line of cards, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang slew Moore’s Law .
” Moore’s Law is dead. A 12-inch wafer is much more expensive today. The idea that the chip is going to drop in price is a thing of the past,” Jensen Huang noted in September 2022.
But what did Moore say ? In the 2015 interview, he reflects on how difficult it will be to keep up with his law.
“Making things smaller is getting more and more expensive. Factories to operate in the new technology nodes are absurd. It is hard to believe that Intel started with a total capital of 3 million dollars. Now you can’t buy a tool, you can’t even install a tool for that amount, I don’t think so. Machines have become much more expensive and complex. On the other hand, its productivity in terms of transistors per unit of time has increased dramatically. So we can still afford to build some factories to use modern technology.”