The Status of Moore's Law: It's Complicated

Node names—the milestones of the chip industry—no longer mean what they used to

10 min read
The Status of Moore's Law: It's Complicated
Illustration: Harry Campbell

One chilly Tuesday evening last December, dozens of physicists and engineers who dream up tomorrow’s transistors met in San Francisco to ponder the far future. Would today’s state-of-the-art switch—a three-dimensional transistor dubbed the FinFET—be able to carry chips “to the finish,” a distant, possibly unreachable horizon where transistors are made up of just a handful of atoms? Or would we need a new technology to get us there?

This may all sound like the tech world’s version of arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but it actually has enormous real-world implications. The semiconductor industry pulled in revenues of US $300 billion in 2012. After decades of fulfilling Gordon Moore’s prophesy of steadily doubling transistor densities (these days every 18 to 24 months), the industry is now delivering integrated circuits with transistors that are made using what chipmakers call a 20- or 22-nanometer manufacturing process. An IC fabricated with this process, such as a microprocessor or a dynamic RAM (DRAM) chip, can have billions of transistors.

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Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Remembering 1982 IEEE President Robert Larson

He was a supporter of several IEEE programs including Smart Village

3 min read
A photo of two men in suits.  One behind the other.

Robert Larson [left] with IEEE Life Fellow Eric Herz, who served as IEEE general manager and executive director.

IEEE History Center

Robert E. Larson, 1982 IEEE president, died on 10 March at the age of 83.

An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Larson was the 1975–1976 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and also served as IEEE Foundation president.

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Distinguishing weak signals from noise is a challenging task in data acquisition. In this webinar, we will explain challenges and explore solutions. Register now!
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