February 20, 2006


I.B.M. Researchers Find a Way to Keep Moore's Law on Pace (JOHN MARKOFF, 2/20/06, NY Times)

I.B.M. researchers plan to describe an advance in chip-making on Monday that could pave the way for new generations of superchips. The development, which comes from materials research in the design of advanced lenses and related technologies, will make it possible to create semiconductors with wires thinner than 30 nanometers, one-third the width in today's industry-standard chips.

The advance potentially clears one of the biggest hurdles facing the progress of Moore's Law, the observation of Gordon E. Moore, a co-founder of the Intel Corporation, that the density of chips doubles roughly every two years. Mr. Moore made the observation about chip-making technology in 1965, and most semiconductor engineers now believe that the doubling rate will continue through at least the middle of the next decade.

Currently, the densest computer memory chips store 4 billion bits of information; the extension of Moore's Law might make possible a generation storing 64 billion bits by 2013. Such a chip could store roughly 2,000 songs based on today's storage standards.

Just one form of hidden deflation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2006 8:35 AM

At the Minnesota Supercomputer Center we installed IBIS high-performance disk drives on the Crays at $100,000 a pop, circa 1985. Capacity was 1 gigabyte.

Today you can get a faster disk drive that has 300 times more capacity for 1/400 the price.

Posted by: Gideon at February 20, 2006 9:51 AM

Yet the Fed keeps fighting "inflation".

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2006 9:58 AM

And I hope when I get old I donít sit around thinking about it

But I probably will

I remember sitting around the fire, listening to Dad tell his tales of drum memory and that new-fangled, experimental "semi-conductor" memory which some said might even replace core memory …

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 20, 2006 11:50 AM

I programmed drum memory. I also wrote programs that calculated the payroll in the Pentagon on a computer that had 16K memory. I also remembering when memory was a character to character wire.

When I started the weather forecasting computer had around 1 million characters, 64 disk drives 256 tape drives and occupied an entire floor of the building. That same power now fits in a laptop.

When I started IBM had just announced a transistor memory computer to replace vacuum tube memories. One computer room I worked in was so badly air conditioned that we had to aim a floor standing fan on the CPU just to keep it cool enough that it would not crash.

But it was more fun then than it is now - and way more creative!!

Posted by: dick at February 20, 2006 11:57 AM

Not quite that old, but I can remember replacing 40MB hard drives -- 20 meg on a side! big drives! -- not the drive but the disk itself. Lining them up took an hour a piece.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 20, 2006 11:58 AM

dick, it was more fun then and we were more creative, but we were just kids who thought we could conquer the world. As it turns out, if we didn't conquer the world, we changed it radically and for the better.

Posted by: erp at February 20, 2006 1:00 PM