Has Moore’s Law Become Moot for PCs?

What a (little) difference four and a half years makes

3 min read
Has Moore’s Law Become Moot for PCs?
Photo-Illustration: Gluekit

Desktop computers are no longer the polestar of the computing firmament, as people have embraced smartphones and tablets by the million. These portable devices have the obvious advantage of being with you wherever you go, but they are also empowered with a multitude of sensors—such as barometers, GPS, and accelerometers—that make no sense in a stationary PC.

Still, when at home or the office, I feel more comfortable interfacing with a physical keyboard, a large display, a powerful processor, and lots of memory. So, bucking the trend, I recently invested in a new PC. My existing PC was four and a half years old and was a packaged system from a large electronics retailer. I assembled the new PC myself from premium components—CPU, motherboard, memory, power supply, case, and so forth. After I got the new PC going, I studied the old and new systems and thought about what the comparison told me about the future of the PC.

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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