Intel Bets on More Moore's Law

Are we nearing the end of Moore’s law? Intel engineers say don’t believe the growing chorus of voices saying there’s little time left to the dictum that transistor counts of chips will double roughly every two year.

Chip researcher iSuppli on June 16 became the latest to expound on Moore’s law. Chief analyst Len Jelinek predicted that the end will come by 2014 because the equipment that would be required to continue shrinking circuitry will become prohibitively expensive.

Engineers at the company’s research day on June 18 disagreed. In a workshop on the subject, they revealed Intel has been testing a variety of techniques to extend the law, including stacking chips on top of one another, using light to layer chips and adding memory.

Engineers didn’t offer a new prediction about how long they can extend Moore’s law life, but appeared optimistic Intel would be one of the few companies that will have enough cash to fund its continued existence.

The fate of Moore’s law has been hotly debated over the years because its advances have contributed to rapid technological advances in all manner of electronic devices. It has helped bring down costs of those products just as rapidly.

If the pace of advances slows, innovation in electronics also could slow.

Who’s right? Certainly reports of the death of Moore’s law have been greatly exaggerated over the years, but everyone agrees it will become harder in the next few years to fulfill it. But with Intel spending about a sixth of its $38 billion in annual revenues on research and development, don’t count it out just yet.

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