How Gordon Moore created “Moore’s Law”

Only among his colleagues, Moore predicted his vision of the idea that manufacturing technology has had a steady trajectory of improvement. With great effort and costly investment, it can be perfected quickly to provide better productivity for more complex circuits that house increasingly smaller transistors. His philosophy of standard products for the future of these complex circuits is central to his thinking, for such a future (with the ever-growing cost of designing and developing chips. more complicated than ever) is only possible if the large markets are in high demand, high volume circuits are constantly being developed. Meanwhile, he and his colleagues will improve every aspect of technology by focusing on hard work.

Photolithography can allow for the creation of smaller samples, with fewer defects affecting productivity. Better diffusion can improve chemical doping and reduce wafer damage. Epitaxy can make better crystalline layers, with fewer defects. With new materials and formulations to improve equipment stability and protection, oxidation can be refined. Contaminants can be removed more stringently by cleaning water, contrast, acids and gases. Larger, purer, and more perfect silicon wafers can be developed. Better metalization can provide more durable contacts and connections. Each aspect of manufacturing technology can be refined to support a steadily increasing shrink of transistors on the chip, to expand complexity and improve productivity. The power of Moore’s insight – still true half a century after his 1965 paper – is that the revolution in electronics depends on the improvement of existing silicon technology, not on specific change. its fundamentals.

The simplicity of Moore’s belief made him the case for the future of microchips, electronics and society. As chemical printing develops, the economics of the microchips change. Over time, increasingly complex chips will provide the cheapest electronics. To illustrate, he came up with a conspiracy:

The vertical scale shows the cost to create a transistor on a chip, with each increment representing a tenfold difference in cost. The horizontal scale shows the complexity of the chip, measured in the transistors it contains, with each increment representing a tenfold increase in complexity. The relationships represented by the curves are not linear but exponential: small changes have a big effect. Three signs illustrate the relationship between cost and complexity in 1962, 1965, and (hypothetically) 1970. In each case, the cost is reduced to a minimum and then increases as complexity increased trash; Each successive curve has a lower and higher cost on a complexity scale.

An astonishing change took place: an eight-transistor chip, the cheapest in 1962, changed to the 2,048-transistor chip, predicted to be the cheapest in 1970.

Gordon combined the economics of integration with his philosophy of standard parts to claim that, by 1970, the cheapest transistor possible to build would be on a complex chip. thirty times more complicated than it was in 1965. The punch lies in the tail: “Production cost per component can be expected to be at least a step lower than it is today. “In other words, standard microchips can make electronics ten times cheaper in five years. Moore and the industry as a whole can provide electronics that are steadily increasing, exponentially. dollar. Indeed!

The second graph answers the question: “What is the complexity of the minimum cost over time?” Gordon’s answer, in a numerical prediction, strengthened his essay’s compelling argument.

This time the horizontal axis is linear, showing each year from 1959 to 1975, while the vertical axis is exponential; Equal increments represent the duplication of the transistor on the IC. Because Fairchild and its rivals have focused on minimizing the cost of electronics by investing in technology, “the complexity of minimum component costs has increased at a rapid rate. about two per year. ” This sentence was later considered the first of “Moore’s Law”, but the attention of the world is often focused on the “what” (the doubling complexity) rather than the “why” (the reduce costs by investing in chemical printing to gain a competitive advantage).

On a linear chart, Gordon’s would be a hockey stick, typical of exponential growth.

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