Moore's Law (1965, 1972?)

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Wed Apr 20 06:37:21 UTC 2005

"Moore's Law" has turned 40 years old. However, the recent articles claim that the name "Moore's Law" was coined by Carver Mead in the early 1970s. So how come OED's first citation is 1977, and Mead's name never makes the definition?
Moore's law, n.

[< the name of Gordon Earle Moore (b. 1929), U.S. microchip manufacturer, who first proposed the idea (see quot. 1965) + LAW n.1]
    A broad principle relating to the rate at which the density of transistors in integrated circuits, and hence the power and miniaturization of computers, is expected to increase with advances in microchip technology, originally predicted by Moore as approximately doubling every year (now modified to approximately every two years).
  Moore's law is often expressed loosely in terms of an exponential rate of increase of some measure of computing power other than the density of logical elements, e.g. the number of microinstructions processed per second, the number of logical elements per square centimetre, the computing power or memory available for a given price, etc. Its applicability in any form is restricted by the approaching physical barrier of atomic and particle size.

[1965 G. E. MOORE in Electronics 19 Apr. 115/2 The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year... Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase.] 1977 Science 18 Mar. 1111/1 If the industry remains on the curve of complexity plotted as a function of time given by ‘Moore's law’ will achieve a complexity of 10 million interconnected components by 1985. [1983 D. A. FRASER Physics of Semiconductor Devices (ed. 3) vi. 159 (caption) The plot of the number of components per chip against time (the Moore curve) has doubled each year for about twenty years.] 1990 Business Q. (Nexis) Jan. 16 Moore's Law has, roughly speaking, held true to this day. 1995 Wired Sept. 154/1 These days, Moore's Law is treated as a general statement that computers get drastically better every yearfaster, cheaper, smallerand that this will occur indefinitely. 2000 Wall St. Jrnl. 1 Jan. 12/3 Many people are concerned that when Moore's Law hits the wall, the heretofore unstinting increase in calculating speed will plateau, and economic growth along with it.
(April 19, 2005)
Chip industry traced to Moore's 1965 ideas


Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - To mark its 35th year, Electronics magazine broke from its usual coverage of vacuum tubes, newfangled lasers and high-tech minutia to ask a handful of experts to look ahead and write about their vision of the future.
Among the contributors was the young research director of a company that made integrated circuits - a relatively recent advance that combined transistors on a chip and seemed a promising but expensive way to make electronics smaller.
"The future of integrated electronics is the future of electronics itself," he wrote. "The advantages of integration will bring about a proliferation of electronics, pushing this science into many new areas. Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers ..."
The year was 1965, the author Gordon Moore.
In three years, Moore would leave his job at Fairchild Semiconductor to co-found Intel Corp. His article, buried on page 114 of the now-defunct magazine's April 19 issue, set the pace for the chip industry, which has become a significant driver of the global economy.
Over time, the observation would be called "Moore's Law." It has set a guidepost for technologists around the world for four decades - and counting.
"It's the human spirit. It's what made Silicon Valley," said Carver Mead, a retired California Institute of Technology computer scientist who coined the term "Moore's Law" in the early 1970s. "It's the real thing."
Moore's Law References?
... I These aren't really Moore's law papers, but are early ... cites Hoeneisen and Mead
papers of 1972] Can other ... Carver Mead has recently been working on a follow-up ...
comp.lsi - Apr 18 1994, 1:12 pm by Johnny Svensson - 3 messages - 3 authors

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