Re: limits to exponential growth (RE: Other signposts towards the Singularity)

From: James Higgins (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 13:53:06 MDT

At 03:24 PM 7/23/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>Supposing that Moore's Law suddenly breaks down in 2005 and transistors
>abruptly stop shrinking, I'm still not nervous, because I know that
>computers will suddenly start having more and more symmetric
>multiprocessing CPUs, rather than bigger and bigger CPUs, and everyone
>will talk about how it was "obvious" that Moore's Law would someday switch
>over to parallel power per dollar instead of serial speed per dollar. Or
>we could see serial speed continuing to increase at the current rate even
>as the number of CPUs also begin to double every couple of years, which
>would also break down Moore's Law, albeit from the opposite direction. Or
>FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) might become common and break down
>our yardsticks.

Moore's Law has nothing to do with CPUs! If transistor counts stop
increasing but systems start shipping with multiprocessing CPUs (not in the
same chip) Moore's Law is broken. Likewise, if transistor counts continue
to increase as predicted but systems also ship with multiple CPUs there is
no effect on Moore's Law.

Moore's Law (quoted from Intel's web site):

         Gordon Moore made his famous observation in 1965, just four years
         after the first planar integrated circuit was discovered. The press
         called it "Moore's Law" and the name has stuck. Moore predicted
         that the number of transistors per integrated circuit would double
         every 18 months. He forecast that this trend would continue through
         1975. Through Intel's technology, Moore's Law has been maintained
         for far longer, and still holds true as we enter the new century. The
         mission of Intel's technology development team is to continue to
         down barriers to Moore's Law.

Sorry, I used to work for Intel and I'm tired of seeing it misrepresented
on this list.

It happens that more transistors means more performance out of a CPU. And
thus there is a correlation between Moore's Law and CPU processing power
over time.

James Higgins

P.S. If your interested, the details are at, including Moore's
original paper on the subject in PDF format.

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