LeoGlossary: Moore's Law

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An observation made by Gordon Moore, CEO of Intel.

This claims that the number of transistors of an integrated circuit double every two years. It was the basis of the growth of the semiconductor industry propelling the market capitalizations of companies such as Intel to much higher levels.

It was something he posited in 1965 with strong growth showing up in the 1970s.

The foundation of this was the fact that the cost per performance kept dropping every couple years.

Digital Explosion

Since Gordan Moore made his observation, we had a half century of explosion in the digital world.

This started with computing. The industry went from mainframe computers that occupied entire floors to wearing them on our wrists. Smartphones were such a hit globally because they brought inexpensive computing to the masses.

Semiconductors are a hardware component. As that expanded, it created increasing possibilities for developers. The 1980s saw the kickstart of the software era where companies such as Microsoft became household names.

Personal computers started to alter the landscape, following Moore's Law as forecast. With computation regulating expanding, for less money, the demand kept growing.

During this time, developers were toying around with some of the initial concepts of the Internet. This was advanced as protocols were embraced, allowing for standards for developers to implement.

The World Wide Web was introduced in the 1990s, providing a medium that was easier for the less technical people to utilize. With most technology, early development is usually to advanced for the average user.

Digital infrastructure spread requiring more servers. Cloud storage was another transformative stage which allowed businesses to alter how they stored data.

Instead of having it on in-house systems, the data was placed on server farms run by the likes of Amazon, Google, or Microsoft. This allowed for access from anywhere as long as one was on a device connected to the Internet.

End of Moore's Law

Many theorize that the 2020's will be the end to Moore's Law. While it ran for nearly 60 year uninterrupted, some question the physical limitations we are reaching.

Some believe that the time was reduced from the 24 months Moore observed to 18. This has moved back into the 2 year range, denoting a slowdown.

Part of the uncertainty comes from the chip makers themselves. These companies are saddled with the task of building ever-more-powerful chips against the reality of physical odds.

Unlike a forecast, there are physical laws to deal with. The high temperatures of transistors eventually make it impossible to create smaller circuits. This is because cooling the transistors takes more energy than already passes through the transistors.

Some feel that Moore's Law actually accelerated to a doubling every 18 months. Even if this was the case, things slowed over the last few years to the point where many are debating if this "law" is still even in effect.

The Future of Computing

It is obvious we are not going to reduce our needs for digital advancement. This means that other forms of progress are required.

If Moore's Law is facing increasing difficulty, this is being offset by software. Many developers are playing with different software stacks and finding then can expand productivity. Altering data with new compression techniques along with faster communication systems also help in this quest.

Artificial intelligence is becoming an larger portion of online activity. More transactions are initiated by computers as compared to humans.

Algorithms are taking over networks. Finance, social media, and gaming are just a few areas where these are becoming central components. Cybersecurity is increasingly turning to AI to monitor the systems and stop unauthorized activities.

Gordon Moore

Born: January 3, 1929
Died: March 24, 2023


  • University of California, Berkeley - Graduated 1950 - Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry
  • California Institute of Technology - Ph.D. in chemistry in 1954


He worked at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory division of Beckman Instruments until leaving as part of the "Traitorous Eight". They left in 1957 and founded Fairchild Semiconductor.

In July 1968, Robert Noyce and Moore founded NM Electronics, which later became Intel Corporation.

Moore's served as:

  • executive vice president until 1975
  • president
  • chairman and chief executive officer (April 1979-April 1987)
  • named chairman emeritus in 1997


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