What is Moore’s Law? A Comprehensive Guide

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Gordon Moore, an esteemed tech enthusiast of the past, came up with a practical application, or you can say it was a hypothesis that eventually turned it into a law that, after a certain period of time has passed, the number of transistors present on a microchip will eventually double.

He earlier perceived that the time period would exactly be two years and not a day above this, but the most tempting aspect of this law is that even if the number of transistors is increasing, the price of the computer for that particular technology will be halved.

If you dig deep enough into Moore’s Law, then you would actually find out that it chips into the scalability aspects of modern technology. We are getting double the speed and efficiency from the future generation of computers, which will continue to increase after two years or so, but the catch here is that we are paying less for them. How is it even possible, and what parameters allow this to happen?

This is the real head-scratcher. Another perceived element of this law is that this exceptional growth in terms of the computing capabilities of these systems is exponential. This law was presented by Gordon Moore, who was the co-founder of Intel, the most elementary manufacturer of microchips for computing goods.

In 1965, he came out with this observation which eventually returned to a hypothesis and with enough testing and verification, it was finally termed a law.

What is Moore’s Law?

To be able to better understand Moore’s Law, it is important that you understand how microchips work, what is the role of the transistors and how this whole shenanigan packs into an effective computing element?

Every computing system has an integral part which is known as the CPU or central processing unit; now, this is the very chip installed onto the motherboard, which controls literally each and every aspect of the said machine.

It controls the graphics, the software installed into the machine, along with the guidelines passed by the user regarding a particular aspect or process, and even oversees the execution of set tasks.

CPU is built on a bed of transistors which pass this information in between them along with electrical charges and whatnot; these transistors are eventually responsible for how efficient and fast the CPU is going to be. The number of transistors is directly proportional to the speed and scalability of the said processor, and if the count of transistors continues to increase, then so would the efficiency of this said system.

According to Moore, every two years, there is a new lead in microchips technology which allow developers and engineers to be able to plant more transistors on the same amount of film having a particular surface area; this means that the size of the transistors is getting smaller, but somehow their efficiency or speed isn’t affected at all.

But on the contrary, their performance is increasing in a steady fashion. This is a detailed analysis of Moore’s Law and what it entails when it states that the efficiency of the microchips is increasing, but their price isn’t.

Something needs to be clarified here right now, and that is the fact that Gordon Moore didn’t want this observation to turn into a law. He merely made an observation that he thought was promising and was repeating itself every couple of years, and this really pushed his confidence in his statement, and eventually, it became a huge success and into law.

He studied the manufacturing trends at Intel very closely, and he perceived this observation to be of higher standing because the results kept on repeating themselves without any delay or any deviance from the experimental value.

This law holds an incredible standing within the semiconductor industry because it is now used as the basis for injecting advancements into the microchips, whether these are produced by Intel themselves or any other microchips manufacturer.

This also helped personnel in long-term planning of what kind of features or what scale of efficiency should be brought further with these semiconductors, as well as setting real-time goals which were achievable in a given time frame.

Research and development was the main sector that got an incredible push from this particular law because now they had a fixed ground on which they could stand and continue building towards the future in terms of economic growth, productivity, and even quantum computing are the dividends of this law if we are registering the facts honestly.

One thing could be snatched from all of this, and that is the fact that with the passage of time, computers are getting smaller and more efficient, providing the end-user with an advanced set of scalability which means that they can induce even more power and inject a performance boost to their systems by themselves, and one more thing, they are getting cheaper.

It has been more than 50 years, but this law is still kicking and is applicable not only in the semiconductors industry but along multiple computing screens and manufacturers across the globe.

Computing Elements

With the passage of time, the transistors present within the integrated circuits is becoming smaller, faster, and more efficient, thanks to the applications of Moore’s Law. These chips and transistors could be termed microscopic wafers, which have carbon and silicon molecules within them, allowing for the smooth passing of electricity through them.

Not only this but any information or data these wafers are communicating with each other also passes through these elements in real-time, thus cutting out lag and increasing the overall efficiency of the system.

These units are aligned perfectly over the electronic boards to make sure that there are no hindrances in the passing of electricity or the data or information which is being communicated between them. The efficiency of our computer is directly proportional to the processing of the electrical signal by the said processor or microchip.

If we talk about the cost factor, then it is dropping significantly because once a new advancement has been tested and verified, its wide adoption is not really a problem for these big corporates, and hence advanced technology is becoming much more efficient, cheaper, and readily available as compared to the old times when even the most baseline computing system costed a fortune.

With the passage of time, the cost of semiconductor PCs is reducing gradually, and the same is true for labour costs, which is an incredible factor in reducing the overall price factor of new technology as soon as it is made available. This is the justification of Moore’s Law, which states that despite the efficiency and speed of the computers continue to increase but their price is reduced by half, this is why.

Electronics

Every aspect of the high-tech industry definitely benefits from Moore’s Law. Mobile devices, smartphones, and other portable pieces of technology are the depiction of this law being accurate as a mobile phone being a compact device, packed with the latest features and whatnot is becoming cheaper but offering tons of exciting features which other devices that came before this most recent one couldn’t.

This means excellent processors are required to fuel the working of all smartphones and other associated devices, and without their proper placement or functioning, multiple aspects of this technology would cease to work at all.

You would not be able to make a call, receive a text, send an email or perform a weather check on your smartphone if it weren’t for these transistors which are becoming much more advanced as the time continues to pass.

With the advancements in computing technology, various other technological sectors, along with various corporations that are directly or indirectly related to this sector, are also getting benefited.

With advanced computers and more efficient systems being able to process information at a faster rate, the industrial sector is enjoying a boost in their overall productivity, manufacturing goods at a faster rate and engineering new and bold designs for the end-users.

The research and development sector of almost every industry is benefiting from Moore’s Law as they are able to fuel some of the best ideas that exist because of the incredible computing structure being presented to them, which can churn data and process information in real-time and drive insights that are not only useful but applicable to a wide variety of scenarios.

The transportation sector is enjoying GPS, real-time tracking of goods along with various other services which were only a dream in the past but are now a booming reality. This increased throughput of computational power has helped multiple sectors and industries to prosper, become better, and to serve their end-users on a better and more promising note.

Should the advancement in the computing industry stop, it would have major havoc on the rest of the industries that are dependent on the computing industry one way or the other.

The increased power of computing chips allows these industries to use whatever mission or goal they have to its fullest potential while preparing for worst-case scenarios in production dips, how to recover from those dips, and facilitating more advanced products and services for their end customers.

Viable End of Moore’s Law

It is being argued that according to some experts, Moore’s Law might reach its impending end at some point in late 2020 which, by the way, has already passed. One thing that hasn’t been explained earlier is the fact that if you place too many transistors on a single die, even if you are eventually reducing the size of the transistors, then the temperature profile would continue to increase at a point where combustion could occur.

There is only as much stretching as you can do with all those transistors trying to remain in a confined surface area while working at their brightest before they give out; that is why increasing temperatures of these transistors packed in a very confined place would eventually make it impossible for Moore’s Law to stand virtuous.

Some of you might be thinking about what if one could cool down these transistors, but it is actually out of the picture because cooling these transistors require a greater flow of energy from these transistors, and as a matter of fact, already a great deal of energy is passing through them in the form of electric current, and that is why this solution will be non-ideal at every possible interval.

Back in 2005, when interviewed about this law, Moore did mention that everything is made up of atoms which already puts a fundamental limitation on materials used for the manufacturing of transistors and semiconductors.

The limits are very real and despite the fact developers and engineers continue to take the matter into their own hands, they fend off these fundamental limits, and due to that specific reason, that day is not too close when we wouldn’t be able to make smaller transistors or semiconductors. This puts Moore’s Law out of proportion after holding up for multiple decades, but eventually, it has come to an end.

This ensures that other possibilities and frontiers must be approached because this law is not withstanding the test of time, the evolution of computing elements, and the temperature shenanigans any longer.

Now it is a known fact that Moore’s Law isn’t going to hold any longer, and it is approaching its natural extinction for chip manufacturers; it is extremely painful because they have had a great run with this law backing up their claiming to further research and development, manufacturing of new chips and testing of further possibilities with the same kind of transistors over a narrower and more delicate surface area has allowed them to reach new heights of efficiency and computing prowess.

With every passing day, the requirement for computing elements to be more efficient and scalable is increasing at a steady rate. The time is not further along with when everything and by everything it is meant that each and every aspect of our lives will be governed by computing elements, from making breakfast in the morning to driving cars and from working your job to doing almost everything would require a computing element to be on your side.

This approach puts a lot of pressure on the developers and chip manufacturers to really push the boundaries and present their audience with something that is much more efficient and capable than whatever it was that they lost in the previous years.

Intel is really competing with itself to push the boundaries ahead by manufacturing a new line of transistors which could still be somehow manageable by Moore’s Law because they definitely don’t want things to end here because they were doing extremely well with this concept from the past few decades and it has presented them with much more robust sale numbers and higher appreciation within the computing world.

22-nanometer processors were the very bread and butter of Intel and other manufacturing companies in 2012, and at that point, it was posted that it is indeed the smallest processing wafer having the most elegant number of transistors present on it, but as more advanced technology became available, the companies have pushed towards more elegant heights.

In 2014 a 14-nanometer chip was launched by Intel which was even more, smaller and hence awarded the user with more robust processing power than 22 nanometers; recently, a 10-nanometer chip was presented by Intel, and for them, this is not the end yet.

Future of Moore’s Law

Shrinking of transistors has worked elegantly for the computing world, but things might be approaching a perceived end now with the inevitable extinction of Moore’s Law; soon, something better and more efficient needs to be served.

Other ways must be explored to continue with the advancement of computing elements and information of data they are capable of processing in real-time.

The burden, therefore, falls not only on the developers and engineers but also on software and app programmers because they must consider these limitations in effect when developing their programs; if they don’t consider these limitations for the current batch of processing units, then it is definitely going to look bad not only towards the manufacturing companies but also for the developers of that specific program or app because they didn’t consider the limitations of present processing units into account.

Now, this is not an ideal approach, but it is something that could be shared with the competition as a kind of approach to presenting an ideal situation for how things should progress from here own.

We have achieved a lot with the transistor shrinking approach, such as cloud computing, wireless communications, the Internet of Things, and last but not least, quantum computing which is something that developers and engineers are still exploring.

It doesn’t mean things have to stop here now, but the limitations of Moore’s Law, along with that this shrinking exercise is not going to work anymore, not so elegantly anyway, should be brought into consideration.


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