Re: Moore's law [WAS MEDIA: Forbes ..]

Dan Clemmensen (
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 22:29:27 -0400

Michael Nielsen wrote:
> The curves I've seen make 2020 look like the ultimate limit, for reasons
> of both size and heat dissipation. Various means for circumventing the
> obvious physical limits may exist though.
> I would be interested to hear what people think about the possibility of
> extending the reign of Moore's law beyond 2020, when we hit atomic-sized
> components, dissipating kT Joules per operation, assuming it continues on
> its merry path for the next 20 years.
> What are the possibilities for increasing computer power beyond that point?
Massive parallelism, "configurable computing", superconductors, reversable

The only new item in this list is "configurable computing." This is the
most recent buzz phrase making the rounds of the chip designers. The idea
is to make on-the-fly changes to the programs of the progammable logic that
make up a portin of the computer, either to alter the instruction set or to
alter the interconnectivity of various computing elements.

Strictly speaking, Moore's law was originally stated in terms of memory density,
but it's used as a proxy for transistor density, which in turn drives
computing complexity and speed. My list of workarounds is actually for computing power,
not memory density. For memory density, just use nanotech to store one bit
per hundred atoms or so, in three dimensions. This keeps Moore's law of memory
density going to about 2030, I think.