Are we reaching the limits of our ability to keep making smaller, faster chips? The world's smartest engineers gather in San Francisco to discuss how to keep Moore's Law alive.
Some of the world's smartest semiconductor engineers will gather at Semicon West to discuss ways to keep Moore's Law alive. Eventually we will not be able to keep making smaller, faster cheaper chips -- at least not using anything like the techniques we use today.
Many stories will be written about the death of Moore's Law shortly, given the wealth of sessions about the silicon roadmap at Semicon West. I'll probably write at least one myself. Although I have no idea what I will say yet, I suspect it might take the form of an upbeat look at the latest batch of promising ideas from world-class engineers.
I hope to hear discussions at the event about the outlook for a 5nm node, extreme ultraviolet lithography, 450-mm wafers, and more. Some of the world's top experts on making chips will be hanging out in San Francisco (where more than a few of them live anyway). I hope to meet as many as possible.
I wrote my first story about the death of Moore's Law back in the mid-1990s, when I had my first and only interview with Gordon Moore. He said his observation about doubling transistors in a given area every 18 to 24 months was bound to end -- it will hit atomic limits. Before it ends, he added, it will get really hard to do and slow down.
Many experts think we're seeing that now. In May 2013, Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli was the first smart semiconductor executive I heard admit publicly this is starting to happen now.
Based in San Jose, Rick writes news and analysis about the electronics industry and the engineering profession for EE Times. He is the editor of the Android, Internet of Things, Wireless/Networking, and Medical Designlines. He joined EE Times in 1992 as a Hong Kong based ... View Full Bio
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