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End of Moore's law and the question mark over the future of computers

Updated on March 30, 2016

After 5 decades, the death of Moore's Law in the air. Technology will develop in a completely new direction.


The future of computers
In 1971, the world's fastest car is the Ferrari Daytona, which can run at speeds of 280 km / h. The world's tallest building in New York's twin towers with a height of 415 m. In November last year, Intel released the chip microprocessor named first commercial 4004, contained 2,300 transistors the size of red blood cells only.
Since then, the chips were down the growth as predicted by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel. According to Moore's Law, the number of transistors can put on a chip will double every year and thereby increase operating efficiency and reduce production costs. Intel's processor chips today Skylake contains about 1.75 billion transistors that can be crammed half a million of them on a chip's transistor 4004. The new chip also calculate speed 400.000 thousand times faster than previous chips.
It is difficult to think of this progress in the real world. If cars and skyscrapers can be developed at the same speed since 1973, the world's fastest cars can run at one tenth the speed of light, and the world's tallest building may be higher by halfway from earth to the moon.
Impact of Moore's Law can be seen everywhere in life. Today, 3 billion people carry smartphones with you: per aircraft have more powerful features supercomputer the size of a room of the 1980s Numerous industries have been transformed by revolution carefully Digital. The progress of computers has helped reduce the nuclear test because nuclear weapons can easily be tested by simulating explosions instead of fact. Moore's Law has become evident: people inside or outside of Silicon Valley technology are expected to become better every year.
But now, after five decades, the death of Moore's Law in the air. Making smaller transistors no longer guarantee them cheaper and faster. This does not mean that progress in the field of computers will suddenly stop, but the nature of progress is changing. The chip will be better still, but at a slower rate (Intel computing speed is doubling every 2.5 years instead of one year ago). And the future of computers will be defined by progress in three areas, outside of pure hardware features.
The first is the software. Recently, AlphaGo, a program of Google playing go beat Lee Sedol, one of the best players of mankind in two consecutive games in Seoul. Computer Scientists particularly concerned with go because the complexity of this game: the move on the chessboard may be more than the number of molecules in the universe. Therefore, a program playing go can not rely on hardware features of Moore's Law to win. Instead, rely on technology AlphaGo "deep learning", is modeled somewhat the way the human brain works. The success of this software shows that the new algorithm can bring remarkable features. Indeed, the slow pace of progress of the hardware will be the driving force for the development of Vietnam hần advantages over software.
The second area is the "cloud", a network of data centers providing services on the Internet. When the computer was a standalone device, whether they are large or computer desktops, their features completely dependent on the speed of the processor. Today, computers can achieve more powerful features without changing the hardware. We can rely on the enormous resources and flexibility of the cloud while doing tasks like searching through email or calculated path on the map. This connection has increased the ability of the computer: the features of the smartphone as a navigation tiinh, motion sensors and online payments is as important as processing speed of the hardware.
The third area is located in the new computer architecture, especially the chips are optimized for specific tasks and new techniques using quantum mechanics to calculate multiple data sets at the same at. These technologies are not developed in a way that the common processor is improved. Instead, the chip is being designed specifically for cloud computing, network processing neural networks, computer vision and other tasks. The specific hardware will be embedded into the cloud to be used when needed. Again, this shows the hardware features of the device is no longer as important as before because the computational burden has been transferred to other places.
Speed ​​is not all
So what does this mean in practice? Moore's Law never is a physical law that like a better prediction. The ending of this law will make the pace of technological progress is difficult to guess. Will have the bends on the road when new technologies appear suddenly and less often. But because the majority of people assessed by the computer equipment they feature instead of processing speed, consumers will feel the speed of technological progress is still as fast as before.
For businesses, the end of Moore's Law will be obscured by cloud. The company is upgrading the computer less often, and stop operation for email servers of their own. However, this model is based on the ability to network connection speed and stability. This will increase the need for improved broadband infrastructure. Companies with poor network connections will benefit less from the computing advancements are happening more and more in the cloud data center.
For the computer industry itself, the decline of Moore's Law has strengthened focus reason cloud computing, which is currently dominated by a few big names: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. These companies are trying to find ways to improve the performance of your cloud infrastructure is owned. And they're hunting for the start-up in this field: Google has acquired Deepmind, the company created by the British in 2014 AlphaGo.
Over 50 years, the size of the transistors shrink ever made computers become cheaper and more powerful. As Moore's law weakens, progress in this field will not be as fast as before. But computers and other devices will continue to become more powerful, just the other way only.

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