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" Moore's Law is ending " , well, not quite
Old 01-02-2019, 12:54 PM   #1
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" Moore's Law is ending " , well, not quite

Maybe just slowing down a bit .

Carnegie Mellon U. link to article on future chip advances.

https://www.cit.cmu.edu/news-events/...ectronics.html
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:22 PM   #2
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The bottleneck has changed. When Moore stated his law, and for quite a while after that, memory capacity and processor speed were the bottlenecks. Every application was constrained by memory limitations and processing speed. Nowadays, software is the bottleneck in that (with some notable exceptions) most programs only require a small fraction of the memory and processing speed that's available. And if more of either is needed, it's dirt cheap.


I recently read that if each byte of memory cost the same today as it did 50 years ago, a typical laptop would cost half-a-trillion dollars.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:04 PM   #3
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I recently read that if each byte of memory cost the same today as it did 50 years ago, a typical laptop would cost half-a-trillion dollars.
It would also weigh a few tons, what with all the core memory and all.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:05 PM   #4
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I recently read that if each byte of memory cost the same today as it did 50 years ago, a typical laptop would cost half-a-trillion dollars.

When I first started working as a Software Engineer back in the early 70s, we had core memory that typically cost a Buck a Byte... In other words 32kilo bytes of memory would go for $32 Grand... And these were 1975 Dollars! Today's Dollars would be about $150 Grand. So, my new laptop has 8GB memory and if my Calculations are correct, the memory alone would cost $37.5 Billion.... Not quite a half trillion, but no chump change either.



My small little desktop has 32 Gig of memory, and I paid about $500 for that memory. About a $150 Billion worth of 1975 Memory.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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No doubt about it, they are approaching the practical physical limits of transistors per area, but I don't think that's any big cause for concern, it's only one measure. And chips are so powerful now, this is not a bad place to be plateauing in that regard.

I think they can still improve power dissipation with better insulators to reduce leakage, and better thermal management. And they will continue to get better at making them within those limits, so costs should continue to come down. And with that experience, mid-range parts will be easier to make with the higher tech levels, so on average we will still see advancement, even if the very top end is stagnating somewhat. Kind of like the trickle-down effect we see in automobiles - what was once only on high end cars starts appearing on mid-range cars, and eventually a lot of it makes it to all levels.

And of course, software can be more efficient. And new networking techniques and other ideas will keep innovation flowing for a long time. I sometimes wonder if this isn't a good thing in some ways - it will force designers to come up with better ways of doing things, instead of the 'easy', brute force, "we need faster computers", approach?

Keeping with the car analogy, a piston engine is basically the same as it was 120 years ago, a piston with exploding gasoline, and gasoline is basically the same as it was. The laws of physics set limits on what that can do. But cars continue to advance at a pretty good pace. It's not all about the engine.

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Old 01-02-2019, 02:16 PM   #6
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HMM, in a paper funded by the government, researchers conclude that the government should fund more research

Anyway, the problem with Moore's law is physics, not software. Moore's law states that transistor density doubles every year. But with single-digit nanometer lithography (really, really tiny transistors), heat transfer and electron migration are becoming insurmountable. OTOH, AMD, Nvidia, Samsung, and Intel are very smart and are working on other ways to increase computing power with advances in chipsets, memory technologies, 3D stacking, and generally moving away from single-processor solutions.

Here's Moore's paper http://www.monolithic3d.com/uploads/...65_article.pdf
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post

And of course, software can be more efficient. And new networking techniques and other ideas will keep innovation flowing for a long time. I sometimes wonder if this isn't a good thing in some ways - it will force designers to come up with better ways of doing things, instead of the 'easy', brute force, "we need faster computers", approach?

-ERD50
Oh did you say a mouthful!
Back in the good old days some of us would count assembly instructions to accomplish a given task. My last deal around performance of a JAVA application was enlightening. The development team said it was done, but the system required 5x the hardware of C++. Some smart folks started decomposing what was occurring, poor coding techniques were responsible for most of the additional system requirements.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:18 PM   #8
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Oh did you say a mouthful!
Back in the good old days some of us would count assembly instructions to accomplish a given task. My last deal around performance of a JAVA application was enlightening. The development team said it was done, but the system required 5x the hardware of C++. Some smart folks started decomposing what was occurring, poor coding techniques were responsible for most of the additional system requirements.
I saw this sort of thing too. Developers always get the newest hardware, and tend to push it to its limits. No surprise it doesn't perform well when the customers try to run that stuff on older hardware.

And I truly believe most "programmers" today don't really code. They drag, they drop, they putter with some high-level languages, but don't really have a clue about how their code actually works. Many don't really understand how any of the hardware works.

I always thought the Programming 101 class should be Assembler.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:41 PM   #9
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I had an opportunity to interview Gordon Moore last Sept for an Intel Alumni event celebrating Intel's 50th anniversary.

He turns 90, Jan 3rd and is suffering from Parkinson's. So he looked a bit frail but the moment we turned on the cameras and started recording him he perked up a gave a terrific introduction to our event. https://tinyurl.com/y9gj5mqw


I didn't ask about the law since I'm sure he is sick about it. I asked him about life after Intel and philanthropy. However, my coworker did. He did agree that's it is slowing down but he did think it would stick around for another 50 years.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:25 PM   #10
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There's a corollary to Moore's Law named after Digital Equipment's Gordon Bell, which says every decade a hundredfold drop in the price of processing power engenders a new computer architecture. Mainframes to PCs to the cloud to what next?
Government spending on faster integrated circuits would be about as productive as researching better buggy whips.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:37 PM   #11
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There's a corollary to Moore's Law named after Digital Equipment's Gordon Bell, which says every decade a hundredfold drop in the price of processing power engenders a new computer architecture. Mainframes to PCs to the cloud to what next?
Government spending on faster integrated circuits would be about as productive as researching better buggy whips.

That's not completely true, Government spending on Semitech in the 1980s and early 90 did help US semiconductors manufacturers regain competitiveness with Japanese (before losing it to the South Koreans this century). Reasonable people can disagree about its overall effectiveness but it was completely useless.

I meet Gordon Bell a couple times at the Boston Computer Museum. Didn't realize there was a law named after him. Two computer giants named Gordon... weird.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:46 PM   #12
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The slowing down of Moore's Law is forcing new type of innovation.

For example, if general purpose CPUs aren't getting faster as quickly as they used to, designers are designing other types of processing units.

We've seen a real revolution in GPUs over the last decade or so. We're starting to see machine learning processors start to do something similar.

An example of this is how a modern iPhone contains CPUs, GPUs, and Apple's Neural Engine. This is a better way to spend the transistor budget than just on CPUs.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:39 PM   #13
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I had an opportunity to interview Gordon Moore last Sept for an Intel Alumni event celebrating Intel's 50th anniversary.

He turns 90, Jan 3rd and is suffering from Parkinson's. So he looked a bit frail but the moment we turned on the cameras and started recording him he perked up a gave a terrific introduction to our event. https://tinyurl.com/y9gj5mqw


I didn't ask about the law since I'm sure he is sick about it. I asked him about life after Intel and philanthropy. However, my coworker did. He did agree that's it is slowing down but he did think it would stick around for another 50 years.
What an honor! Are you able to post links to the interviews, or is that Intel internal use only?

Too bad he has Parkinson's, looks like the medication is slowing his speech a bit. Hope he stays strong for a long time yet.

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Old 01-02-2019, 08:44 PM   #14
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The slowing down of Moore's Law is forcing new type of innovation.

For example, if general purpose CPUs aren't getting faster as quickly as they used to, designers are designing other types of processing units.

We've seen a real revolution in GPUs over the last decade or so. We're starting to see machine learning processors start to do something similar.

An example of this is how a modern iPhone contains CPUs, GPUs, and Apple's Neural Engine. This is a better way to spend the transistor budget than just on CPUs.
Back ~ 2005, when Steve Jobs was frustrated that Motorola/Freescale/IBM wasn't keeping the PPC up with Intel, there was a lot of speculation of what they would do. I was thinking that maybe they had some new wiz-bang software/firmware to unload tons of stuff to a GPU, and blow everyone out of the water w/o needing to focus on the CPU so much. Good thing I didn't have any money on that bet!

But it seemed like a reasonable thing to speculate on. I haven't kept up with the tech I guess, I'll need to go read up on that Neural Engine, and hope I can understand at least some of it.

-ERD50
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:01 PM   #15
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And I truly believe most "programmers" today don't really code. They drag, they drop, they putter with some high-level languages, but don't really have a clue about how their code actually works. Many don't really understand how any of the hardware works.

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Old 01-03-2019, 08:53 AM   #16
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...I was thinking that maybe they had some new wiz-bang software/firmware to unload tons of stuff to a GPU, and blow everyone out of the water w/o needing to focus on the CPU so much. Good thing I didn't have any money on that bet!
I had a TI99 "home computer" back when that was a thing. It had a separate graphics chip; what we'd now call a GPU. It had a ton of other benefits over the Intel chips of the day, like the 8080 and 8088.

Beyond unloading tedious graphics chores to the GPU, it had a tiny bit of internal RAM into which you could load whole programs, and blow the doors off any Intel box on the simplistic benchmarks that were in use at the time. A cool feature was "soft registers." Rather than have to do series of PUSH and POP commands every time your code branched to another routine, you just did one context switch command. When you switched back, all the register values were as you left them.

Despite being far advanced technology-wise, TI lost the chip wars to Intel, and we all had to go back to using more primitive coding techniques.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:38 AM   #17
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I always thought the Programming 101 class should be Assembler.

Or better yet, machine code. We had an old PDP-8 computer at my college, and our assignment was to write a program on paper in machine code, then enter it using the switches on the front of the panel. Then run it, with the output being the lights on the front of the panel. I learned more doing that assignment than one could ever imagine.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:43 AM   #18
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And I truly believe most "programmers" today don't really code. They drag, they drop, they putter with some high-level languages, but don't really have a clue about how their code actually works. Many don't really understand how any of the hardware works.

Programmers as you define them are a dime a dozen. But good software designers are scarce. I worked with a lot of people who knew all the ins and outs of the programming language, and were very good at implementing something when given a detailed design document. But if these same people were told "create a system that does X", one would be met with a blank look.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:51 AM   #19
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This thread reminded me of a Dilbert strip where they discuss programming in binary:

http://www.dilbert.com/strip/1992-09-08
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:54 AM   #20
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The next big jump is quantum computing.
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