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moore's law

moore's law in Science
Moore's law
The observation that steady technological improvements in miniaturization leads to a doubling of the density of transistors on new integrated circuits every 18 months. In the mid-1960s, Gordon Moore (born 1929), one of the founders of Intel Corporation, observed that the density of transistors had been doubling every year, although the pace slowed slightly in the following years. The 18-month pattern held true into the 21st century, though as technology approaches the point where circuits are only a few atoms wide, new technologies, possibly not involving transistors at all, may be required for further miniaturization.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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moore's law in Technology
/morz law/ The observation, made in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore while preparing a speech, that each new memory integrated circuit contained roughly twice as much capacity as its predecessor, and each chip was released within 18-24 months of the previous chip. If this trend continued, he reasoned, computing power would rise exponentially with time.
Moore's observation still holds in 1997 and is the basis for many performance forecasts. In 24 years the number of transistors on processor chips has increased by a factor of almost 2400, from 2300 on the Intel 4004 in 1971 to 5.5 million on the Pentium Pro in 1995 (doubling roughly every two years).
Date Chip Transistors MIPS clock/MHz ----------------------------------------------- Nov 1971 4004 2300 0.06 0.108 Apr 1974 8080 6000 0.64 2 Jun 1978 8086 29000 0.75 10 Feb 1982 80286 134000 2.66 12 Oct 1985 386DX 275000 5 16 Apr 1989 80486 1200000 20 25 Mar 1993 Pentium 3100000 112 66 Nov 1995 Pentium Pro 5500000 428 200 -----------------------------------------------
Moore's Law has been (mis)interpreted to mean many things over the years. In particular, microprocessor performance has increased faster than the number of transistors per chip. The number of MIPS has, on average, doubled every 1.8 years for the past 25 years, or every 1.6 years for the last 10 years. While more recent processors have had wider data paths, which would correspond to an increase in transistor count, their performance has also increased due to increased clock rates.
Chip density in transistors per unit area has increased less quickly - a factor of only 146 between the 4004 (12 mm^2) and the Pentium Pro (196 mm^2) (doubling every 3.3 years). Feature size has decreased from 10 to 0.35 microns which would give over 800 times as many transistors per unit. However, the automatic layout required to cope with the increased complexity is less efficient than the hand layout used for early processors.
Intel Microprocessor Quick Reference Guide (
"Birth of a Chip", Linley Gwennap, Byte, Dec 1996 ( See also March 1997 "inbox".
Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers (, Ken Polsson.
See also Parkinson's Law of Data.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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