The 5nm Frontier: A Radical Innovation is needed to go beyond Moore’s Law

The 5nm Frontier: A Radical Innovation is needed to go beyond Moore’s Law
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In a Computerworld article P. Thibodeau underlines the coming technological to increase processors computational power and fulfill Moore’s predictions. “The 14-nanometer silicon chips that are now heading to mobile phones and elsewhere may eventually reach 7nm or even 5nm but that may be it”.

As reported by S. Lawson, Broadcom Chairman and CTO Henry Samueli detailed last december the challenges faced by the chips manufacturers: “…keeping Moore’s Law going now requires complicated manufacturing techniques that are so expensive they cancel out the cost savings that should come with each new generation,…The cost curves are kind of getting flat.”

“Process nodes themselves still have room to advance, but they may also be headed for a wall in about 15 years, Samueli said. After another three generations or so, chips will probably reach 5nm, and at that point there will be only 10 atoms from the beginning to the end of each transistor gate, he said. Beyond that, further advances may be impossible.

“You can’t build a transistor with one atom,” Samueli said. There’s no obvious path forward at that point, either. “As of yet, we have not seen a viable replacement for the CMOS transistor as we’ve known it for the last 50 years.”

Furthermore and as ACMTech summarize it: “The European Commission released a report saying the end of Moore’s Law means there will no longer be “mere extrapolation” of existing technologies, but rather a need for “radical innovation in many computing technologies.” Meanwhile, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recently said that innovation beyond Moore’s Law will require “new scientific, mathematical, engineering, and conceptual frameworks.” For example, NSF says new materials will be necessary that can work in quantum states or “molecular-based approaches including biologically inspired systems.” New technologies could take the shape of carbon digital circuits composed of nanotubes, which could offer a tenfold improvement over current technologies in terms of performance and energy usage. Quantum computing also could supplement or replace microprocessors. Experts at the recent SC13 supercomputing conference predicted a lack of stability and certainty in the future as technology stops advancing in a regular, predictable manner.”

Sources: ACM Tech / Computerworld
Photo Credits: Oxford Surface Ion Trap by fatllama / FlickR