After fifty years, is Moore’s Law set to become obsolete?

Fifty years ago yesterday, a paper by Intel Corporation co-founder Gordon Moore was published in Electronics magazine. Moore observed that the amount of transistors in an integrated circuit would double each year — a trend that has endured since the article was written.

You can see Moore’s Law in action across the tech landscape; laptops getting smaller, the ever-increasing capabilities of smartphones, the enormous advances being made in medical equipment. Moore predicted this course, but he also helped influence it, as his paper has been used in the transistor industry to help model future developments and establish long-term goals.

To celebrate the milestone, Intel has released a specially commissioned interview with Moore via its YouTube channel. In the video, the company’s chairman emeritus discusses his reaction to the continuing legacy of his paper, alongside footage and imagery from throughout his storied career.

“It’s really had a lot more legs than the original paper had any right to deserve,” Moore says in the video.

There are rumblings, however, that Moore’s Law might be coming to the end of its relevancy. Projections have been prepared showing that growth in the number of transistors per circuit will soon begin to slow to below the rate that Moore’s Law identifies. In fact, as part of the anniversary press tour, Moore himself stated that he expects the Law to die off before the end of the decade in an interview with IEEE.

Still, the legacy of Moore’s Law — and of Gordon Moore himself — will endure far into the future. Through his paper and his work with Intel, Moore has done far more than most to contribute to the continuing evolution of computing. While Moore’s Law might not apply to the industry in twenty years’ time, the advances made during its tenure will be built upon for years to come.

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