Moore’s Law Could Be No More

Moore’s law is already slowing down and will collapse within a decade according to Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist. He believes physical limitations are already beginning to come into play.

Exactly what “Moore’s law” means is a somewhat vague term, and the definition has varied over the years since Gordon E Moore wrote in a 1965 issue of Electronics Magazine ” The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year… Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase.”

In other versions, including later tweaking by Moore himself, the general theme is that computing power will double roughly every two years, based on the idea of being able to fit twice as many transistors on a same-sized circuit. Intel has tweaked that further to an 18-month period based on the transistors getting further.

Whatever the details, it’s been more of a principle than a law, though certainly one that seems to have held up over the past 50 years or so. (See above, via Wikipedia)

Now Kaku says that as things stand, Moore’s law will “flatten out completely” over the next 10 years. That’s based on the idea that we are beginning to hit the physical limits of silicon. Specifically, if transistors get any smaller, the inherent problems of overheating and leakage will eventually outweigh any gains.

Kaku believes we’ll be able to stave off the decline with workaround for a while yet, including parallel processing and even three-dimensional chips. Ultimately he believes we’ll have to switch to completely different concepts of computer processing, such as molecular computing (effectively using molecules to create a valve to replicate silicon transistor switches at a smaller scale) and even quantum computing. However, the latter option likely won’t be viable until near the end of the century according to Kaku.