Re: Does Moore's law matter to end users?
The article is interesting but, it covers only half of the problem. So while it's true that manufacturing chips under 14nm will be difficult, and going below 7 may be impossible, the other problem is more important because the laws of physics are more important there.
What is that problem? It's that there aren't very many atoms in the width of a line at these small process sizes. By the time we get below, we're talking of just 10 to 20 atom wide line features. It becomes almost impossible to keep electrons withing that line. Starting with 90nm we began to see the problem with Intel,s Netburst. Clever workarounds have been used since then to counter leakage, and other problems resulting from Heisenberg's Law of Uncertainty. Electrons tunnel out of a conductor. Larger conductors have this problem to a very small extent, but it begins to become significant as the surface become a large percentage of the total area of the conductor.
At some point, it will be impossible to keep those electrons where they belong, and progress will have ended.
Will people care, you ask? Certainly! We have been not only become accustomed to continued progress, but have become habituated to it. One might even say, addicted. When that progress begins to slow, and it has already, as Intel's last few generations have all come in behind schedule, it will become harder to sell new products. When it stops, what will happen then?
We're waiting for new technologies to replace the silicon technology we've become accustomed to using. But alternatives aren't just around the corner, they're more than a decade away, and possibly a lot further than that, if possible at all.
I expect more clever methods will allow better chips on the same processes, but large improvements depend on smaller processes every two years or so.. When that moves to three, then four, five and then no more smaller processes, only small improvements will be possible without an complete rethinking of computer processes. Whether that will be possible isn't known.
Why but a new device if there are no major improvements? This would change everything.
Network speeds aren't everything. They are only one part. We still do most of our computing on our devices, not over the network. It's not a world of dumb terminals.