This month, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Moore's law, which is based on former Intel CEO Gordon Moore's supposition in 1965 that the number of transistors on a chip would double about every two years. Moore was pretty accurate, as chip speeds have grown at a remarkable pace. For its part, Intel has pledged to keep up the pace and aggressively drive more innovation through R&D (see Intel Reports Strong Quarterly Earnings, April 19, 2005).
But at least one CEO believes Moore's law has become a tired rallying cry. National Semiconductor CEO Brian Halla told EE Times that the U.S. semiconductor industry needs to refocus on compelling applications for semiconductors such as personal, medical, surveillance, and security technologies (see Halla Says U.S. Chip Industry Must Move Beyond Moore's Law).
That's a compelling argument, indeed. But without sounding too wishy-washy, the industry needs both. It needs speed and power, and it needs innovative applications that can benefit from amazing advances in computing power.
That's certainly on Bill Gates' mind. There's plenty he could talk about in terms of innovative applications, user interfaces, and other features that will come in future versions of Windows, but when we sat down with him last week, it was clear that what's exciting him now is the transition to 64-bit Windows computing and the performance benefits that will result. For companies that want to simplify apps and up performance, this is "one of the most magical ways," he told us.
Windows users will have a lot to think about with 64-bit versions of Windows coming this week and Microsoft's next-generation operating system, Longhorn, due sometime next year. We'll help you sort out the details in our cover story.
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