Semiconductors

Moore’s Law and the future of semiconductors

DDR2 SDRAM Memory, RS Stock No.708-1116

 

The discovery of semiconductors, the foundation of modern electronics, has led to innovation that has become progressively more powerful and complex over time. As a result, in 1965, Gordon E. Moore postulated in the 35th anniversary edition of the magazine “Electronics” that there was a log-linear relationship between device complexity and time. It was then in 1975 that the speculation was refined and the term “Moore’s Law” was coined.  Moore’s law states that the number of components has doubled in integrated circuits approximately every two years. As a result, semiconductors have become more complex in a seemingly log-linear fashion.

 

Bipolar Transistor, RS Stock No.544-9624

 

It is because of this innovation that power, speed, and size of such technologies is at the level that it is today. In order to speculate about the future, we have selected a few of these expert innovators to hear their opinions on the question: What would be the process entailed in shrinking a hypothetical semiconductor by a tenth its size, while still maintaining its current capability?

Warren Savage

– “Moore’s Law has accurately predicted that the amount of transistors that can be placed in the same area of silicon will double every 18 months.   The result of this is that designs can shrink by as much as 10 times over a 6 year period.  There are many ramifications of this to the consumer:

 

1.  Electronics can become increasingly complex (10x) while the cost is reduced due to the lower silicon area.

2.  Speed can increase because as the transistors get smaller, the distance electrons travel also shrinks allowing faster performance.

3.  As a result of transistors being closer together, transmission distances are shorter and therefore the voltage can be reduced which in turn reduces power.

 

The result of this over the last 50 years has been an explosion in complexity of technology that is unprecedented in human history and provides us with the opportunity to radically change the world we live in with computing and communication infrastructure completely surrounding us and integral to our everyday lives.”

Warren Savage, President and CEO of IPextreme, Inc.

is perhaps one of the most recognizable figures in the semiconductor industry. He has spent his entire career in Silicon Valley working with leading companies, including Fairchild Semiconductor, Tandem Computers, and Synopsys, where he focused on the problem of building a global, scalable semiconductor IP business. In 2004, Warren founded IPextreme with the mission of unlocking and monetizing captive intellectual property held within semiconductor companies and making it available to customers all over the world. Warren holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.  More information about IPextreme can be found here at www.ip-extreme.com.