Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The Fiscal Limits Of Moore's Law: 2020 - The End Of Exponential Innovation

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 28, 2013

2013 08 28 12 18 21

It won't be physics that sets the limits of Moore's Law but fiscal issues — as the chip industry's platform of exponential innovation grinds to a halt after a 50 year run in the face of mounting costs around 2020.

Then it'll be up to software to take over in doubling computing power and halving costs every two or so years. Good luck with that. 

Rik Myslewski at The Register, reports from the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University:

"When Moore's Law ends, it will be economics that stops it, not physics," declared Robert Colwell of DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office…"Follow the money," he advised.

According to Colwell, who was Intel's chief chip architect from 1990 to 2001 and an Intel Fellow, there's absolutely no doubt that Moore's Law will eventually be repealed. "Let's at least face the fact that [Moore's Law] is an exponential, and there cannot be an exponential that doesn't end," he said. "You can't have it."

Colwell believes that 2020 will be the earliest date for the Law's demise. "That's only seven years away," he reminded his audience…"We'll play all the little tricks that we didn't get around to" – but the halcyon days of exponential performance improvements will be at an end. And with them, Moore's Law.

He raises an interesting point about the incremental improvements in chip performance following the end of Moore's Law. Will people buy a chip that's 50% better, 20% better, 10%?

If customers won't buy smaller improvements then chipmakers won't make the chips. Chipmakers won't invest billions of dollars in new manufacturing lines if the performance improvements are incremental.

Lots more here: Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics • The Register

Also please see:

Hardware Is King, Software Is A Spoilt Brat Grown Fat Suckling On The Teats Of Chip Industry Innovation -SVW

 Qualcomm CEO Worried About End Of Moore's Law

Will Software Developers Be Able To Keep Moore's Law Alive?

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