Brief Introduction to Moore’s Law
Gordon Moore, Co-founder of Intel made a startling observation in 1965. He found that the number of transistors being fit into a computer doubled every two years. This meant that computers can compute more things simultaneously. Therefore, the computational power of a computer doubled every two years and is still doubling. This observation is known as Moore’s Law.
What is a Transistor?
A transistor is a kind of a ‘gate’. It controls the flow of electricity (electrons) and the amount of flow of electricity. These transistors are etched onto a computer chip, also called an Integrated Circuit (IC) made of silicon. Millions of transistors can be put on an IC that can be much smaller than your fingernail.
Visualizing Moore’s law
Transistors are being made smaller and smaller in size, therefore, more are being fit into ICs. The smallest transistors today can just be a nanometer across and need a microscope to be viewed.
A few decades ago, computers were the size of big rooms. they had hundreds of components and wires laying around. Just two years ago, in 2018, IBM unveiled the world’s smallest computer. This computer is the size of a grain of salt and packs hundreds of thousand transistors. This is the power of Moore’s law. If Moore’s law stays true for a few more years, the computational power of computers will surpass that of the Human Brain.
The End of Moore’s law and its consequences
Just as all things come to an end, so will Moore’s law. There is a limit to how small you can build a transistor. You can make transistors that are 1000 atoms wide or even 100 atoms wide or even 10 atoms wide. But, the limit is around 5 atoms. At this point, the frenzy of the quantum world takes over. The uncertainty principle will cause electrons to leak out of the transistor randomly . Meaning you cant control the flow of electrons.
If Moore’s law collapses, then the computer industry will come to a halt. If computers are not getting any better, there is no point in creating or buying new ones. Millions will lose their job and the economy will be hit. The IT industry is aware of the problem and have started to take the problem seriously only in recent years. As of now, there is no way of getting around this problem.