Eben Upton on the Raspberry Pi’s Industrial Crossover and Why There Will Never Be a Pi 9

The creator of the popular $35 computer explains the design of the new Pi 4

3 min read
photo of Eben Upton

The Architect: Eben Upton holds a Raspberry Pi and the smaller Pi Zero, designed for simpler tasks.

Photo: Jeff Gilbert/Alamy

Seven years ago, Eben Upton created the first Raspberry Pi. As Upton told IEEE Spectrum in our March 2015 cover story, the Pi was inspired in part by his childhood experiments with a BBC Micro home computer: He wanted modern kids to have a simple machine that allowed for similar experimentation. Since then, the Pi has exploded in popularity, and the fourth major revision of the Pi was released in June. Upton talked with Spectrum senior editor Stephen Cass about the Pi 4's design, its growing commercial use, and what might be next.

Stephen Cass: How has the Pi's user base evolved?

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3D-Stacked CMOS Takes Moore’s Law to New Heights

When transistors can’t get any smaller, the only direction is up

10 min read
An image of stacked squares with yellow flat bars through them.
Emily Cooper
Green

Perhaps the most far-reaching technological achievement over the last 50 years has been the steady march toward ever smaller transistors, fitting them more tightly together, and reducing their power consumption. And yet, ever since the two of us started our careers at Intel more than 20 years ago, we’ve been hearing the alarms that the descent into the infinitesimal was about to end. Yet year after year, brilliant new innovations continue to propel the semiconductor industry further.

Along this journey, we engineers had to change the transistor’s architecture as we continued to scale down area and power consumption while boosting performance. The “planar” transistor designs that took us through the last half of the 20th century gave way to 3D fin-shaped devices by the first half of the 2010s. Now, these too have an end date in sight, with a new gate-all-around (GAA) structure rolling into production soon. But we have to look even further ahead because our ability to scale down even this new transistor architecture, which we call RibbonFET, has its limits.

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