April 19 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Gordon Moore’s seminal article in Electronics Magazine, which laid out the pace at which semiconductor technology advancement would occur. This observation, which has come to be known as “Moore’s Law,” states that the number of transistors on a semiconductor would double every two years, thereby rapidly increasing the functionality of semiconductors and the electronic products they enable.
Today, some semiconductors contain billions of transistors, and the transformation of certain downstream products because of this functionality growth has become almost a cliché – think of the comparison of the “brick” phone of the 1980s to the much more powerful smartphones of today!
When you add it all up, the number of transistors that are created today by the semiconductor industry is simply mind-blowing. Dan Hutcheson of VLSI Research has calculated that 7.6 trillion transistors were produced in 2014 per second. PER SECOND!!! Hutcheson puts this number in perspective by making some compelling analogies: 7.6 trillion is “…25.4 times more stars in the Milky Way … or 76.1 times more Galaxies in the universe.” And my personal favorite: “… if every transistor was worth one dollar, our industry would pass World GDP in about 10 seconds.”Read More