Can This Chip Make The Next Quantum Leap?

One immutable law rules the ever-changing computer business: The machine you buy tomorrow will run a lot faster than the one you own now, thanks to relentless advances in microprocessors. When Intel Corp. invented the microprocessor 23 years ago, it used 2,300 transistors to run a calculator. Today's versions--the "brains" for every type of computer and most other electronic systems--contain millions of transistors in a numbing maze of circuit lines. They are among the most complex products ever built. Every few years, though, the progress gets harder to sustain.

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