Feeds

Intel admits founder's Law on its last legs

Chip transistors will soon be too small to work, says Chipzilla boffin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Watch out, semiconductor people -- Moore's Law is about to be repealed. That's the conclusion of one Paul Pakan, a scientist at Moore's own company, Intel, published in an article in a US science journal called... er... Science. The gist of Pakan's comments is that while chip developers have been dutifully doubling the number of transistors in a processor every 18 months, in accordance with Moore's Law, for the process to continue, the transistors will become so small -- ie. they'll be made from under 100 atoms apiece -- that chip designers will no longer be able to control them. Actually, there's nothing new about Pakan's claim. Semiconductor design researchers have known for years that they will soon hit some major barriers to the ongoing miniaturisation of chip technology, not least of which is the fact that chips will soon run out of electrons to fill all the circuits they contain. However, it's curious that someone from Intel, of all companies, has actually gone on record to admit it. That said, there is something oddly anti-Malthusian about chip design. Just as Malthus predicted a couple of centuries back that by now we'd no longer be able to produce enough food to sustain population growth, early claims that semiconductor technology would come to a standstill have proved false, not just through the miniaturisation of chip fabrication processes but by the use of copper and silicon-on-insulator technologies. Still, even allowing for the arrival of similar approaches to extend process technology to 0.1 micron and beyond, there is an ultimate physical limit on the size of a transistor, as Pakan points out, so the sooner they can get quantum and/or optical processors to work, the better. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.