Moore’s Law at 50 – the gift that keeps giving (infographics)

20 Apr 2015

Moore’s Law, the observation by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors in a chip will double every two years, turned 50 at the weekend and it is still holding true to this day.

In a paper in 1965 Moore predicted the pace of development of the semiconductor and it has acted as a roadmap and guide for the entire industry in terms of planning and targets as well as R&D researchers making bets on technology.

Moore, who was working as the director of R&D at the time at Fairchild Semiconductor, wrote a paper for the 35th anniversary issue of Electronics magazine, and tried to predict what was going to happen to the electronics industry in the decades ahead.

The brief article, entitled, Cramming more components onto integrated circuits, predicted that by 1975 it would be possible to contain 65,000 components on a quarter inch of semiconductor and that by 1980 this would double every two years.

Today there are more than 2.3bn transistors on chips.

In 2005, Intel offered US$10,000 to purchase a copy of the original Electronics issue and a copy was discovered in the possession of an engineer living in the UK.

Two infographics have emerged that capture the impact of Moore’s Law and the advances that have been made possible through the evolution of chip design and chip materials.

The first, Moore’s Law: Patterns of Progress, captures the momentum of Moore’s Law in terms of CPU milestones, from when the 8008 chip contained 3,500 transistors in 1972 to today’s Haswell processor from Intel, which contains 1.4bn transistors.

The second, A Supercomputer in Your Pocket, focuses on the endless claims by pundits that Moore’s law is going to peter out. It hasn’t yet.

Moore’s Law: Patterns of Progress

A Supercomputer in Your Pocket


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years