The Death Of Moore's Law Is Greatly Exaggerated
from the the-myth-will-live-on dept
Every so often, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore shows up for an interview, and it’s only a matter of time before someone asks him about Moore’s Law, and he says something along the lines of how shrinking chips is going to reach its physical limits at some point. This has actually been going on for some time, but every time it happens, someone gets excited and writes up an article with a headline about the “death of Moore’s Law.” Do some Google searches on the topic and you’ll find hundreds of articles on it starting years ago. The latest such article comes from Extremetech, claiming that Moore Sees ‘Moore’s Law’ Dead in a Decade, as if that’s something new. Go back a few years, and you can find nearly identical articles. However, the larger point is that it doesn’t matter.
There are a few reasons for this. First of all, Moore’s Law isn’t what most people seem to think it is. It’s not (and never has been) a “law.” Even worse, what it means and how people interpret it has continued to change over time. In fact, even Moore himself hasn’t been consistent about what it means — and the parts most often attributed to Moore aren’t accurate at all. In fact, this latest article, from ExtremeTech gets the basic facts wrong, saying that originally Moore’s Law was about the number of transistors on a chip doubling every 18 months and it was later pushed back to two years. Actually, the original statement from Moore was about doubling every 12 months, and he was the one who later revised it to two years. At some point, others seemed to average the two and say it was 18 months. The more important point, however, is that it doesn’t really matter. The specifics of Moore’s Law have long since lost their significance, and its true importance today is simply as a shorthand way of saying that technology gets better and cheaper at a rather rapid pace — and that’s likely to continue for quite some time whether or not chip makers figure out how to squeeze more transistors onto a chip or not.