Gordon Moore’s Law stated that the number of transistors on a chip would double about every two years. Moore worked for Intel and predicted this in 1965. His chip had 64 transistors on it and the one in my smartphone has over 1 billion. He was spot on.
The prediction has held good for 50 years which is pretty amazing but what’s most interesting is that it’s now faltering. We’ve reached the end of the line and we just can’t make them any smaller – or so Intel has quietly admitted.
This reflects another law (a particular hobby horse of mine) which is that nothing at all is ever truly sustainable if it consumes something else, or, put another way, everything has a limit. I blogged four years ago (Why running is like Chocolate cake) about the futility of the eternal pursuit for economic growth and why runners can only get so fast. Remarkably prescient in view of the latest news about Greece.
Runners unable to get faster and chips unable to get smaller is actually quite exciting in that it means another curve will be on the ascent and maybe a whole new technology or a new sport will emerge based on something completely new. Can’t wait.