pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Thu Nov 14 18:23:02 EST 2002
Subject: Moore's "Law"
Dear Colleagues -
With some deliberate provocation, I have long held that Moore's Law
has none of the force of natural law, is rather an indication of
economic support for semiconductor technology development by customers
with sufficient willingness to buy and renew computers and other
high-tech products at a particular rate.
Finally, with a slant more complex than mine, there is a seriously
researched article on Moore's "Law":
Another reason that it is good to have a considered article is that
exponential growth has consistently led to the utopian prediction of
free capacity. E.g. Tesla's "free electricity for everyone", and the
nuclear power industry's prediction of "electricity too cheap to
meter." As a form of ignorance, such utopianism always "costs" in the
end. Now we are saying that "information processing capacity is
essentially free and technical possibilities are unlimited."
"The Lives and Death of Moore's Law" by Ilkka Tuomi
Moore's Law has been an important benchmark for developments in
microelectronics and information processing for over three decades.
During this time, its applications and interpretations have
proliferated and expanded, often far beyond the validity of the
original assumptions made by Moore. Technical considerations of
optimal chip manufacturing costs have been expanded to processor
performance, economics of computing, and social development. It is
therefore useful to review the various interpretations of Moore's Law
and empirical evidence that could support them.
Such an analysis reveals that semiconductor technology has evolved
during the last four decades under very special economic conditions.
In particular, the rapid development of microelectronics implies that
economic and social demand has played a limited role in this industry.
Contrary to popular claims, it appears that the common versions of
Moore's Law have not been valid during the last decades. As
semiconductors are becoming important in economy and society, Moore's
Law is now becoming an increasingly misleading predictor of future
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