Gordon Moore, scientist and chairman of Intel, first noticed that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit increased exponentially over time, doubling approximately every two years. This corresponds to an exponential increase on the number of transistors per chip that led to an increase by a factor of more than 1,000,000 in 40 years. Moore’s law has fueled the enormous developments in computer technology that have revolutionized technology and society in the last decades.
A long standing question is for how long will Moore’s law hold, since no exponential growth can last forever. The Technology Quarterly section of this week edition of the Economist, summarized in this short article, analyzes this question in depth.
The conclusions are that, while the rate of increase of the number of transistors in a chip will become smaller and smaller, advances in other technologies, such as software and cloud computing, will cover the slack, providing us with increases in computational power that will not deviate much from what Moore’s law would have predicted.
Image of computer scientist and businessman Gordon Moore. The image is a screenshot from the Scientists You Must Know video, created by the Chemical Heritage Foundation, in which he briefly discusses Moore’s Law