October 1, 2018

What Comes after Moore's Law?

The literal meaning of Moore’s Law is that CMOS transistor densities double every 18 to 24 months. While not a statement about processor performance per se, in practice performance and density have tracked each other fairly well. Historically, additional transistors were mostly put in service of running at higher clock speeds. More recently, microprocessors have mostly gotten more cores instead.

The practical effect has been that all the transistors delivered by process shrinks, together with design enhancements, meant that we could count on devices getting some combination of faster, cheaper, smaller, or more integrated, at an almost boringly predictable rate. ...

However post-Moore’s Law plays out long-term for hardware, certain other trends are coming together that offer to provide something of a roadmap for the nearer term. These include more ephemeral applications, new workloads, cloud service providers, and open source software. One suspects that we’ll also see some even more fundamental changes in the basic architectures of computer systems over time. Let’s look at four of those trends:

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