Trivia

Hard

What Computing Rule of Thumb Predicts The Doubling of Computing Power Every Two Years?

Koomey's Law
Moore's Law
Haitz's Law
Hall's Law
Engineers holding up a wafer of 7mm chips.
IBM/Wikimedia

Answer: Moore’s Law

Moore’s Law is a principle in the computing industry wherein the number of transistors packed into integrated circuits doubles roughly every two years.

The law is named after Gordon E. Moore, an early semiconductor components engineer, who described the trend in a 1965 paper on the future of computing power published in Electronics Magazine. He traced the pattern of increasing power prior to the year the paper was written and predicted that the trend of computing power doubling every year would continue into the future—he later revised his calculations in 1975 to a more modest doubling of power every two years.

In addition to explaining computing development at the time it was proposed, Moore’s Law became a guiding principle for the industry. Development schedules and product delivery time tables became structured around it, further reinforcing the perceived accuracy of Moore’s predictions. To that end, it has become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy as competitors in the microprocessor industry race each other to the next iteration of Moore’s Law.

It’s important to note, however, that while it might be called “Moore’s Law”, it’s hardly a law in the sense of how we understand laws in physics, for instance. The doubling of power is no guarantee as starting in the 2010s, chipmakers have had to innovate and push the boundaries of technological limits, using new materials and novel designs, to keep increasing chip speeds.

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