For computer chips, smaller and faster just aren’t good enough anymore. Power and heat have become the biggest challenges for chip manufacturers and companies integrating chips in everyday devices, such as laptops.
In other words, our computers have reached a speed bump.
“We are running into fundamental limits,” says chemistry associate professor Bradley Fahlman. “The chips that came out recently have 2 billion transistors that function on something that is the size of my thumbnail.”
In every new generation of computer chips, the number of transistors packed on the surface doubles, true to the 1965 prediction of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.
“That means that in less than two years, we will be at 4 billion,” says Fahlman. “If we want to continue with ‘Moore’s Law’ and in order to increase computational speeds, we have to solve these power consumption problems.”