Culture

IBM: Moore's Law not dead after all

For the past few years, IBM has emerged as one of the naysayers about Moore's Law, the famous observation that the number of transistors on a given chip will double every two years. Scaling, the process of shrinking transistors, has been slowing, some IBM researchers said last year, and will sputter out soon. Speed didn't matter either, they claimed, although IBM has continued to increase the speed of its chips. The comments often made Intel chafe.

But T.C. Chen, vice president of science and technology at IBM, told the assembled audience at the International Solid State Circuit conference that shrinking transistors a la Moore's Law is good for at least ten years. It will slow a bit, but even Gordon Moore says that.

"The infusion of new materials and device structures will continue to extend CMOS (silicon) performance for a long time to come," he said in a paper accompanying his speech. Chen, though, said that to get to that point, chip designers, manufacturing engineers and those who make the software and hardware for semiconductor manufacturing will all have to cooperate very intensely.