Moore's law - why do we care?


Sep 29, 2002
Call this a rant if you will, but over the last year or so there has been no shortage of articles in the media proclaiming 'the death of Moore's law'. I'm asking the question 'does it really matter?'

First, I've always felt that calling this a law is not accurate. This leads us to think that it is an unbreakable law such as the laws of physics (yes those tend to bend as well). But in reality it is very different. A scientific law s created by observing in nature. Moore's law was from observing items created by mankind. In short, it is artificial. It is ultimately up to humans if we continue to make this true or not - therefore is not an unbreakable law such as the laws of thermodynamics, for example. I would argue that Moore's law is not a law at all. It is an interesting observation that has held mostly true over the decades.

To further argue this point, Moore himself revised it as technology changed in the beginning. it was stated that the number of transistors in a chip would double every year....and then later revised to every two years. This happened in the 70s by the way.....

So why do we care so much? Yes it has been helpful for product planning in the past, but tech companies go to great lengths to 'prove' it true to this day. Furthermore, transistor count does not always equate to performance. Anyone who regularly reads the articles on this site should know that all too well.

I think its pretty safe to say that with the transition to 7nm underway, deminishing returns is setting in hard. Successful or not, it is taking more money and resources than ever before. What happens after this one? Will it even be economical?

I personally believe that we are at a point when we need to change how we build circuits in a big way but haven't figured out how yet. When that happens Moore's law may very well no longer apply.

I feel that we should be more concerned about increasing computing power than how many more transistors we can pack onto a die. After all, it is the end result that really matters.

Moore's law was nothing more than a interesting observation of our technological development by a very intelligent individual. Maybe its about time we treat it as such.