Intel exec: Moore's law keeps going and going

Intel exec: Moore's law keeps going and going

Pat Gelsinger

Intel Corp.'s chief technology officer today predicted the exponential growth of chip transistor density will continue at least another decade.

Pat Gelsinger, the first keynote speaker at the FOSE 2002 trade show in Washington, said Moore's Law, the 1960s-era prediction by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore that transistor density would double every 18 to 24 months, has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Computers have been gaining 10 times the processing power every five years, he said, while the so-called price-performance ratio has decreased almost as fast.

Gelsinger said he has "absolute confidence" that the IT industry will continue to exploit Moore's Law over the next 25 or 30 years. Recent research developments, such as a 10-nanometer terahertz transistor with a dielectric layer just three atoms thick, will lead to new IT products later this decade, he said.

By 2010, the typical desktop computer will have a 30-GHz processor that performs 1 trillion instructions per second. Handheld computers will run at clock speeds of 5 GHz, faster than today's high-end systems, Gelsinger said.

The Pentium 4, Intel's current 32-bit processor, has enough design headroom to reach 10-GHz clock speeds, Gelsinger said. Intel is now delivering its second-generation 64-bit Itanium CPU, code-named McKinley, for products that will come out later this year. McKinley's clock rate exceeds 1 GHz. The chip has 3M of onboard cache.

Gelsinger and a colleague demonstrated linking 32-bit Pentium III Xeon rackmount servers through a 2.5-Gbps InfiniBand fabric to an 800-MHz, 64-bit Itanium system and a McKinley server.

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