Our computers have come a long way for many of us over the years and the supporting technology is only improving at break-neck speed. In such a short space of time, computers have developed from clunky machinery to some of the finest and compact devices that are continuing to surprise us as consumers.
Micro-processes are the cause of such advancements, and it’s something that continues to develop. But what about Moore’s Law? Is it something that’s coming to an end?
What Is Moore’s Law?
So what is Moore’s Law? In 1965, a man named Gordon Moore proposed that the number of transistors (a semiconductor device) on a silicon chip would double every year. It was a prediction of the exponential growth electronics could make, and proved itself true over the decades. It was until around 2010 however, that Moore’s Law began to break down, and many are questioning whether this age of exponential growth is coming to an end.
Moore’s work with the silicon transistor began back in 1956, and its purpose is to produce, amplify and direct an electrical signal. It uses three leads for this being a source, a gate, and a drain. We owe a lot to Gordon Moore who was the co-founder of Intel Corporation, and without him, we might not be where we are today.
By producing a network of transistors, this developed into the modern devices that we see today. The more transistors you can fit onto a chip, the more power it has. Moore’s Law certainly lived up to expectations with every 18 months, or so, a transistor would reduce in size, and more transistors could be packed into the chip itself.
However, there are challenges that are now contributing to the rate at which Moore’s Law expects. These are electrical leakage, heat, and economics. Due to the transistors being so small, the channel that carries the electric current cannot always be contained. This causes electrical leakage and which, in turn, can cause it to overheat, meaning it wears out a lot quicker.
The shrinking sizes and the expense of manufacturing have become more costly. With these transistors overheating, more costs are being incurred to keep them cool, and these physical impediments are making it hard to create the revenue needed to maintain Moore’s Law.
However, companies like Microfabrica are providing the means for new research and development to possibly help overcome these hurdles currently in place.
It seems that this is the beginning of the end of Moore’s Law. Chipmakers and manufacturers are aware of the challenges that this law has on today’s transistors, but they continue to find new ways to help continue the growth in computing power. They are still making advancements when it comes to alternative models for transistors, but if anything, all it can do is extend the life of Moore’s Law a little bit longer.
The physical limit of what you can fit onto a chip and still regulate it effectively is the growing challenge. The need for smaller and more compact devices is still needed, but we could see a change in this thanks to micromanufacturing.
Microfabrica is leading the way in creating more powerful devices that are lighter and smaller. It might be that with more research and development, there’s a change in the attitude towards Moore’s Law. Perhaps the law could be upheld for longer than we thought?
With smaller chips, you’re looking at quantum computing. This is a direction that we already seem to be heading in, and so perhaps letting go of Moore’s Law is needed in order to continue growth within the computing world.
What Does the Future Look Like for Moore’s Law?
With all that said, there doesn’t seem to be any clear direction about where it’s going. All indications from developers and manufacturers see to point towards Moore’s Law being a thing of the past. It might exist for a little longer, but unless the physical problems are tackled successfully, there’s little chance of it continuing.
However, there’s still room for a lot of development. Nothing is impossible and human life has continued to prove that when we’re challenged with something that seems it, we find a way to prove it wrong. Only time will tell whether Moore’s Law fades out of existence or whether it rallies itself back up again.