The Lives and Death of Moore's Law

Ilkka Tuomi


Moore's Law has been an important benchmark for developments in microelectronics and information processing for over three decades. During this time, its applications and interpretations have proliferated and expanded, often far beyond the validity of the original assumptions made by Moore. Technical considerations of optimal chip manufacturing costs have been expanded to processor performance, economics of computing, and social development. It is therefore useful to review the various interpretations of Moore's Law and empirical evidence that could support them.

Such an analysis reveals that semiconductor technology has evolved during the last four decades under very special economic conditions. In particular, the rapid development of microelectronics implies that economic and social demand has played a limited role in this industry. Contrary to popular claims, it appears that the common versions of Moore's Law have not been valid during the last decades. As semiconductors are becoming important in economy and society, Moore's Law is now becoming an increasingly misleading predictor of future developments.

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