Why The Theory that Computer Processors Will Double In Power Every Two Years May Be Becoming Obsolete
Almost exactly 50 years ago, the American electrical engineer Gordon E. Moore made a prediction which would come to have a profound impact on people’s expectations about technology.
Writing in Electronics magazine in April 1965, he suggested that as advances were made, the power of the average computer processor would double every year.
Moore went on to become a co-founder of Intel Corporation, now one of the world’s largest producers of microprocessors, which govern the speed of most laptops and PCs.
His prediction, which he updated in 1975 and now states that the doubling of processor power will occur every two years, came to be known as Moore’s Law.
Since then, this two-year cycle has provided the blueprint which has underpinned the continual advances in technology to which most of us are now accustomed – and has led to consumers taking ever faster computers, more realistic computer games and better iPhones for granted.
But according to Brian Krzanich, the current chief executive of Intel, the era of Moore’s Law may be coming to a natural end.
In a discussion with analysts on Wednesday night, he admitted that while his firm had “disproved the death of Moore’s Law many times over”, its next generation of microprocessors would take slightly longer to produce.
Gordon E. Moore
The electrical engineer was in his 30s when he made his famous prediction in the pages of a magazine that the number of transistors which could be fitted into computer chips would double approximately every year, meaning that computers would become increasingly more powerful.
In 1975 he extended the interval to two years. Now known as Moore’s Law, it has so far proved correct.
Three years after making his prediction, Moore co-founded NM Electronics alongside Robert Noyce.
The company later changed its name to Intel Corporation – a portmanteau of the words “integrated” and “electronics” – and currently employs more than 100,000 people. Now aged 86, Moore is estimated to be worth more than $6.1 billion.
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