Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

New Life for Moore's Law?

Filed under
Misc

Chou, who also founded Nanonex, is one of the prime advocates of "imprint lithography," a process that involves pressing an ornate template into a liquefied substrate to create a circuit pattern, similar to how a signet ring worked. In experiments, he has managed to create features measuring 6 nanometers, one-fifteenth the size on today's chips.

"Ten years ago, people said, 'This is crazy. You will never use technology to make things this small,'" Chou said.

Imprint lithography--along with silicon nanowires, phase change memory, spintronics optoelectronics, 3D chips and other technologies once largely considered scientific curiosities--is among the many emerging technologies that could extend the life of Moore's Law, the famous computing principle whose demise has been predicted repeatedly over the last few decades.

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's early observation about the rate of progress in the electronics industry--specifically, that the number of transistors on a microchip double every one to two years--turns 40 on Tuesday. Under this principle, chipmakers have managed to steadily boost the performance of their products while simultaneously dropping the price, a rare confluence that has allowed digital technology to seep into virtually every segment of the world economy.

Success, however, has created its own problems. Decades of doubling transistors has led to chips containing several million transistors and multibillion-dollar factories to produce them. Shrinking the size of transistors and the copper wires that connect them to fit more onto a chip has led to problems with electric leakage, power consumption and heat.

"There have been major reforms in the past. We're coming up on another such time where changes will have to be made. Power dissipation is the really big crunch right now," said Stan Williams, director of the Quantum Science Research unit at Hewlett-Packard. "The number of innovations that have to be put in at every generation is increasing."

And there's only so much room left for shrinking today's transistors. Transistors consist of four basic parts: a source (which stores electrons), a drain (where they go to create a "1" signal), a gate and a gate oxide (which control the flow from the source to the drain). After several shrinks, the gate oxide is only about 10 atoms thick in some cases, meaning an end to shrinking or an arduous chemical or architectural makeover.

Around 2023, the source and drain will be so close that electrons will travel freely between the two and corrupt data unless major changes are made in chip manufacturing techniques, design and materials.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Raspberry Pi imitator has GbE, 2GB RAM, and 4K video

Asus has launched a RPi-like “Tinker Board” that runs Debian and Kodi on a quad-core 1.8GHz -A17 RK3288, and offers 2GB RAM, GbE, 4K video, and 40-pin GPIO. The rumored Asus Tinker Board is finally for sale at Farnell in the UK, with a footprint, layout, and features that are very close to that of the Raspberry Pi, including the much copied 40-pin expansion connector and a Debian Linux image. The quad-core SoC and onboard wireless further reminds one of the Raspberry Pi 3. Read more

FastComputer: Fussy but Fixable

Let's assume that the developer soon will issue an updated or fixed version so the Network Manager will work outside a Virtual Machine window. That will give FastComputerLinux a shot at being more useful to those who want a good out-of-the-box simple OS solution. I am not sure that this distro's name is an indication of speedy performance. I tested it on several machines looking for speed. As expected, the live session DVD was very sluggish. It was much peppier on the VM. I was expecting a little bit better speed performance on my test gear with a hard drive installation. Read more

Linux Kernel 4.9.5 Released with Updated Radeon Drivers, KVM and PPC Fixes

A new maintenance update of the Linux 4.9 kernel series was announced today by renowned Linux kernel maintainer and developer Greg Kroah-Hartman, versioned 4.9.5. Coming only five days after the previous point release, Linux kernel 4.9.5 appears to be a big milestone that changes a total of 132 files, with 1515 insertions and 821 deletions. There are numerous improvements implemented in this fifth Linux 4.9 maintenance update, but first we'd like to remind you that Greg Kroah-Hartman recently marked this kernel branch as long-term supported (LTS), yet this is not apparent from kernel.org. Read more

Linux-based IoT gateway certified for Azure

IonSign’s “Gluon GMU491 Cloud Gateway” runs Debian on a TI Sitara SoC and aggregates multiple sensor and Modbus inputs for Azure and AWS. Finland-based IonSign has begun shipping an IoT gateway billed as a “complete industrial grade production unit for data collection and edge computing.” The Debian Linux based Gluon GMU491 Cloud Gateway is designed for collecting sensor, meter, fieldbus, or automation system data and packaging it for direct delivery to commercial cloud platforms. Read more