Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"CHIPS: IBM Fellow: Moore's Law defunct"

An IBM researcher says Moore's Law is running out of gas. IBM Fellow Carl Anderson, who oversees physical design and tools in its server division, predicted during the recent International Symposium on Physical Design 2009 conference the end of continued exponential scaling down of the size and cost of semiconductors. The end of the era of Moore's Law, Anderson declared, is at hand. The IBM Fellow observed that like the railroad, automotive and aviation industries before it, the semiconductor industry has matured to the point that the pace of continued innovation is slowing. Anderson was one of 65 semiconductor gurus speaking at the conference, which also unveiled a new method for synthesizing critical paths, a host of analog design innovations and a new twist on the annual physical design contest.

BOTTOM LINE: The continued breakneck pace of semiconductor scaling that has resulted in smaller, cheaper chips cannot continue much longer, due to increasingly high cost of building new fabs. Also, most applications do not require that absolute latest, greatest semiconductor design innovations. Semiconductors will continue to be the driving force in consumer electronics, but increasingly the focus will be on functionality rather than the higher speed and smaller size of the chips used to realize an application.