Moore’s law has been one of the cornerstones of modern day computing. The law is based on an an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. Moore stated that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention and he predicted that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future. A new breakthrough made by IBM may just ensure that the law continues to be true into the future.
Moore’s law has been having trouble of late. With every passing year, it has been getting harder and harder to pack double the amount of transistors into the same space. Which is how we got into nanometer level manufacturing. Now IBM along with partners GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung has come up with a process that will allow the packing of as many as 30 Billion transistors, into a space the size of a human fingernail.
This new process involves something called a gate-all-around (GAA) transistors, that deploys horizontal layers of stacked silicon to enable a fourth gate on the transistors that are placed on the chip. This is in contradiction to the usual trend which has sub existed for decades — wherein transistors as we know them, came with three gates.
This new addition enables a highly significant performance improvement wherein, the new systems created using this technology will be able to deliver a 40 percent improvement over previous systems. To put things in perspective, you could also create systems with the same level of performance as the chips of today however, with merely a quarter of power consumption.
There is still at least a decade or so before the technology becomes mainstream. Once it does though, the tech is likely to lead to devices that will be significantly more powerful than the kind of devices we have today.