The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is pleased to announce the February 2016 Issue 3 of STEPS: Science, Technology, and Engineering Policy Studies. Please enjoy this featured article:

For more than 50 years, Moore’s law has successfully described the steadily increasing power of microelectronics. Decades of exponential growth in transistor density has revolutionized the way humanity lives, and has generated a worldwide semiconductor industry. However, as Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and author of Moore’s Law, once said: “no exponential is forever.” Today, the imminent end of classical Moore’s Law scaling represents a major turning point in the history of microelectronics. The authors explore the historic background of Moore’s Law, the economic implications of its demise, and policy ideas for the US Department of Defense to adapt to this paradigm change.

The End of Moore’s Law

With over 50 years of sustained exponential scaling, the field of microelectronics has had a profound impact on society. In the 1960s, electronic chips had but a handful of components; today, a single chip contains several billion transistors. Moore’s law has characterized a $336 billion worldwide semiconductor industry,1 and has fed the development of multiple other industries. From modern GPS applications, to smart phone technology, it has revolutionized the way we live. Microelectronics has driven the historic transformation from analog to digital representation of data, and has enabled the vast expansion of data storage.

However, the heady days of exponential scaling are about to come to an end. Fundamental limits signal a major paradigm shift in microelectronics technology. These changes will be disruptive to the industries that have grown accustomed to exponential growth as described by Moore’s Law. The US Department of Defense will need to adapt its policies to ensure continued technological superiority.

Find the full article here.


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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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