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Moore’s Law


Peter Bright, ars technica, Moore’s law really is dead this time, here.

We’ve recently seen these factors cause real problems for chip companies. Intel originally planned to switch to 10nm in 2016 with the Cannonlake processor, a shrunk version of the 14nm Skylakes shipping today. In July last year, the company changed this plan. An extra processor generation, Kaby Lake, will be released in 2016, still using the 14nm process. Cannonlake and 10nm are still planned but are not due until the second half of 2017.

Compounding all this is that all these extra transistors have become increasingly hard to use. In the 1980s and 1990s the value of the extra transistors was obvious: the Pentium was much faster than the 486, the Pentium II much faster than the Pentium, and so on and so forth. Existing workloads gained substantial speed-ups just from processor upgrades, thanks to a combination of better processors (going from simple in-order processors to complex superscalar out-of-order processors) and higher clockspeeds. Those easy improvements stopped coming in the 2000s. Constrained by heat, clock speeds have largely stood still, and the performance of each individual processor core has increased only incrementally. What we see instead are multiple processor cores within a single chip. This increases the overall theoretical performance of a processor, but it can be difficult to actually exploit this improvement in software.

These difficulties mean that the Moore’s law-driven roadmap is now at an end. ITRS decided in 2014 that its next roadmap would no longer be beholden to Moore’s “law,” and Naturewrites that the next ITRS roadmap, published next month, will instead take a different approach.

M.Mitchell Waldrop, nature, The chips are down for Moore’s law, here.

The industry road map released next month will for the first time lay out a research and development plan that is not centred on Moore’s law. Instead, it will follow what might be called the More than Moore strategy: rather than making the chips better and letting the applications follow, it will start with applications — from smartphones and supercomputers to data centres in the cloud — and work downwards to see what chips are needed to support them. Among those chips will be new generations of sensors, power-management circuits and other silicon devices required by a world in which computing is increasingly mobile.


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