Transistors threaten to invade lebensraum

The influential SIA reckons we'll have a billion each

A year ago From The Register No. 73, April 1998 The SIA said Friday that by 2008, for each person on the planet, there will be an an estimated billion transistors. Hopefully, they won't be all piled into your one bedroomed flat or occupy living space in your shanty town. Even if they're produced on a wickedly good sub micron process by that time, a billion of anything is still a lot. The Semiconductor Industry Association has also asked for trade barriers to be dissolved and China, Russia and Latin America to be brought into line with the rest of the world. China and Russia are not members of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC). George Scalise, president of the SIA, was speaking at the second meeting of the World Semiconductor Council, held in California on Friday. Scalise said the US chip industry was now the number one wealth creator in the US, from a position of 17th place 10 years ago. He said that position was comparable in other countries which manufactured semiconductors. The high technology industries of computers and telecomms accounted for over a quarter of growth in the US economy in the last five years. While dollar growth in chips last year was small, the continued validity of Moore’s Law meant that the industry in general showed a sharp increase in building the number of transistors, amounting to an increase in bits of around 90 per cent. That represented two billion transistors being churned out every second. He said: "Last year, our industries produced almost 10 million transistors for every man, woman, and child, on earth. Per capita consumption of transistors has been increasing about 55 percent a year – a rate which causes an order of magnitude increase every 5 years. At this rate, by 2008 we will be producing one billion transistors for every man, women, and child on earth. " The SIA, he said, was announcing limited international participation in its technology roadmap plans. He called for barriers to trade to be removed. "Specifically, the members of the WSC must redouble their efforts to get China, Russia and Latin America to join the Information Technology Agreement," he said. He also called for the removal of tax and encryption barriers to the growth of e-commerce, echoing comments by IBM’s chairman Lou Gerstner three weeks ago. ® * The bill to book ratio fell last month, the SIA said. We thought that the US semiconductor industry had dumped this idea.

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