"There is certainly no end to creativity." Moore says. His law, in use since 1965 and updated once in 1975, states that the number of transistors on a given chip can be doubled every two years. Actual computer speed has been doubling once every 20 months approximately.|
Moore brought up many interesting statistics during his speech. He stated the number of transistors produced anuually is now roughly equal to the number of letters and/or characters printed annually--and they cost about the same to produce. In some cases, 50 Million Transistors can be had for as little as a dollar. The actual number of transistors produced each year also outnumbers the worldwide ant population by a factor of 10.
New technologies like strained silicon and Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography promise new breakthroughs where roadblocks in the ever shrinking microprocessor once stood. EUV uses light with much smaller wavelengths and should be in use by the important year 2007. A similar year in the past was 1986, when Ultraviolet light was first introduced into the lithography process and allowed microprocessors at the time to to break the 1 Micron barrier. In the past two decades microprocessors have continued to shrink in size and double in power, however Moore is reserved when knowing the limits of his own law.
"No physical quantity can continue to chage exponentially forever" Moore notes.
The years 2005 through 2007 I believe will be years of huge advances in microprocessors and the technology used to create them. Physics states that transistors can only get so small. Physics also states that certain materials, such as silicon can only be used for microprocessors to a point. One such point is where current next generation microprocessors have so many transistors and they are so close together that electrical leakage becomes a problem. These leakages can cause errors within the chip itself leading to not only wasted electricity and heat issues, but causing the chip to perform as it was not designed to perform, or erroniously. Strained silicon chipsets are already being produced by IBM and Intel and help solve some of the leakage problems by adding a latticelike layer of germanium to the Silicon; a type of insulation if you will.
Nanotechnology will also see huge advances between 2005-7. Such technologies could eventually replace silicon as the medium of choice for microprocessors. IBM and others have successfully already created carbon nanotubes which are 1000 times stronger than steel.
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