Moore's Law

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"a prediction by a former IBM director that the speed of computer chips of the same price would double every 18 months. There is no 'law' behind this formula in any scientific sense but so far the prediction has held or been surpassed."


James Allen:

"Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, observed that the number of components per integrated function seemed to be doubling about every 18 months. He envisioned that this trend would continue into the foreseeable future. What is amazing about this is that he created the original graph in 1965 and it still holds true 45 years later. In today’s electronics industry, the Law is re-stated as a doubling of the number of transistors on a chip, or a doubling of chip performance. This translates into a doubling of overall computational power approximately every two years. Viewed from a cost basis, the computing power that a $1,000 buys as followed this performance doubling line for the past 100 years." (


JAMES ALLEN on Moore’s Second Law:

"Arthur Rock, a Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist who has invested in high technology companies such as Intel, Apple, Teledyne and Scientific Data Systems noted that the cost of a semiconductor chip fabrication plant doubles about every four years. Rock was one of the original backers of Fairchild Semiconductor, assisting founder Sherman Fairchild when he was considering leaving Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories in the 1950’s. This is sometimes referred to as ”Moore’s Second Law”." (


Moore's Law is no longer operative

by David Rotman:

"“It’s over. This year that became really clear,” says Charles Leiserson, a computer scientist at MIT and a pioneer of parallel computing, in which multiple calculations are performed simultaneously. The newest Intel fabrication plant, meant to build chips with minimum feature sizes of 10 nanometers, was much delayed, delivering chips in 2019, five years after the previous generation of chips with 14-nanometer features. Moore’s Law, Leiserson says, was always about the rate of progress, and “we’re no longer on that rate.” Numerous other prominent computer scientists have also declared Moore’s Law dead in recent years. In early 2019, the CEO of the large chipmaker Nvidia agreed.

In truth, it’s been more a gradual decline than a sudden death. Over the decades, some, including Moore himself at times, fretted that they could see the end in sight, as it got harder to make smaller and smaller transistors. In 1999, an Intel researcher worried that the industry’s goal of making transistors smaller than 100 nanometers by 2005 faced fundamental physical problems with “no known solutions,” like the quantum effects of electrons wandering where they shouldn’t be.

For years the chip industry managed to evade these physical roadblocks. New transistor designs were introduced to better corral the electrons. New lithography methods using extreme ultraviolet radiation were invented when the wavelengths of visible light were too thick to precisely carve out silicon features of only a few tens of nanometers. But progress grew ever more expensive. Economists at Stanford and MIT have calculated that the research effort going into upholding Moore’s Law has risen by a factor of 18 since 1971.

Likewise, the fabs that make the most advanced chips are becoming prohibitively pricey. The cost of a fab is rising at around 13% a year, and is expected to reach $16 billion or more by 2022. Not coincidentally, the number of companies with plans to make the next generation of chips has now shrunk to only three, down from eight in 2010 and 25 in 2002." (

More Information

  1. Reed's Law
  2. Metcalfe's Law
  3. Rock's Law
  4. Butter’s Law of Photonics