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Why Microchips Will Soon Stop Shrinking

Technology By

Focused engineer examining microchip with flashlight

In 1965, Gordon Moore (the co-founder of semiconductor chip maker Intel) came up with what is known as Moore’s Law: He predicted that the number of transistors per square inch would double approximately every 12 months, resulting in computer chips continually shrinking. While he revised it in 1975 to every two years, it has proven remarkably prophetic for five decades.

Yet it is believed it may finally reach the end of its accuracy in 2021. The Semiconductor Industry Association has projected that that will be the point when reducing the size of silicon transistors will stop, not because it’s no longer possible, but because it will have stopped making economic sense.

This does not mean chips will cease to develop. It’s likely they will become more specialized (for instance, one type of chip might focus on artificial intelligence), and will be increasingly energy efficient. Regardless of what happens in the next fight years, Moore’s prediction and its half-century success rate remains a feat of foresight worthy of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. To read more about the future of chips, click here.