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Moore sees end of his law..again

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore said the rapid doubling of computer power the technology industry has taken for granted is coming to an end in the next 10 to 15 years.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum this week, the retired computer chip pioneer said the principle commonly known as Moore's Law is coming up against the laws of physics.

The popular version of Moore's Law states that the number of transistors on a circuit – and therefore the computing power – doubles every 18 months. The principle behind the "law" first came up in an observation Moore made in a 1965 article about the progress of transistor technology, but it soon proved prophetic.

The problem now, however, is that transistors are running up against two physical constraints: the speed of light and the atomic nature of matter.

"Another decade, a decade and a half, I think we'll hit something fairly fundamental," Moore said.

It's not the first time Moore or others at Intel have predicted the end of Moore's law. It will be interesting to see though, as we get closer and closer to that time, whether research into quantum computing or other areas can keep Moore's Law alive. What other areas? Perhaps Moore provided a clue when he responded to a question about what he would do if he were a young person enrolling in college today.

"I'd probably look at something more in the biology mould. The interface between computers and biology now is a very interesting area."

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