Moore's Law should stay relevant for a very long time. Every time it looks like we're hitting the limits of what the physics of semiconductor operation would allow, somebody pushes the boundary even further away.
The latest in a string of photonic computing breakthroughs, IBM's nanophotonic avalanche photodetector (say that one 10 times fast!) could be produced with standard tools of semiconductor manufacturing, using common materials like silicon and germanium. It aims to replace copper wires between computer chips with circuits that use pulses of light. No more than "a few tens of atoms" in size, the detectors could decode signals with so little power that a 1.5-volt battery might one day power a fully functioning computer. Oh, and IBM created the requisite ultra-fast light diodes way back in 2007. Try to keep up.
IBM Research spokesman T.C. Chen imagines that "the prospect of building power-efficient computer systems with performance at the Exaflop level might not be a very distant future." To put that vision into perspective, today's fastest supercomputer (a 37-000-processor monster built by Cray
So if you've been holding off buying semiconductor stocks lately because they couldn't possibly get any better, well, you don't have that excuse anymore. As long as there's an Apple
How far will Moore's Law bring us before hitting the last immovable wall of physics? Pose your theories in the comments below. Me, I'm betting on double the performance every 24 months for at least 20 more years.
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