Moore's law, framed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, continues to have a significant impact on the electronics sector as the fundamental principle that guides the course of modern computing and the semiconductor industry. The law is based on Moore's prediction that the number of components on a computer chip would double every two years. More accurately, Moore predicted that the number of transistors placed on a single square inch of an integrated circuit chip would double every two years.
Industry Implications of Moore's Law
Moore's law was first published in Electronics magazine in 1965 when Moore was a founder and director of research at Fairchild Semiconductor. While he did not pay much heed to his own predictive statement, it continues to stand as a technological benchmark for the semiconductor industry. The importance of the law to semiconductor manufacturers is evident. The semiconductor manufacturing industry has created a predictive roadmap that spans nearly five decades from 1971 through 2020. This set of documents is titled "The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors." This roadmap was established by five geographic regions that represent nearly all chip manufacturers. Consequently, all decisions about future product releases and research efforts are based on the two-year window of Moore's law.
Economic Implications of Moore's Law
One of the economic impacts of the law is that computing devices continue to show exponential growth in complexity and computing power while effecting a comparable reduction in cost to the manufacturer and the consumer. Interdisciplinary bodies such as the Materials Research Society continue to feature improvements and innovations in the process of chemical mechanical planarization, an abrasive cleaning technique used in manufacturing integrated circuits that optimizes the cost and efficiency of the chip. Consequently, the lowered cost of manufacturing and the increased reliability of new technology nodes has resulted in significant improvement in the equity and operating profits of the semiconductor industry and, as a result, the electronics sector.
The far-reaching implications of Moore's law are seen in the growth of cloud computing and social media technologies, which require increased computing capabilities and are directly responsible for the demand for more components on a single chip. The economic relationship between equipment manufacturers that support the industry, chip manufacturers and the consumer market continues to be influenced by the industry's ability to keep pace with the conditions of Moore's law.
The importance of this law is underlined by the fact that it has caused a technological migration from microelectronics to nanoelectronics and created an industry segment -- nanotechnology -- that is experiencing exponential growth. This migration has also resulted in exponential interest in new areas, including nanomaterials and new optimization technologies for semiconductor manufacture. Despite reports that the law may be "slowing down," it remains a guiding maxim of the industry today.