Everyone knows Moore’s Law, right? Computers will double in performance every 2 years, or 18 months in some versions? And everyone claims it’s been remarkably consistent and some even claim that it’s Moore’s Law the causes computers to double in performance instead of it being an observation and prediction.
Well that’s not quite right. I read this article because the title caught my eye. While much of the article has food for thought, I was annoyed by the opening paragraph that reads
“In 1965, Intel cofounder Gordon Moore published a remarkably prescient paper which predicted that computing power would double about every two years. For a half century, this process of doubling has proved to be so remarkably consistent that today it is commonly known as Moore’s Law and has driven the digital revolution.”
But that’s not what Moore wrote. According to Wikipedia, and my own memory of reading Moore’s Law,
“Moore’s law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.”
In the initial paper in 1965, he said every year, but revised that 10 years later to every 2 years. The bit about 18 months wasn’t Moore at all. From Wikipedia:
“The period is often quoted as 18 months because of Intel executive David House, who predicted that chip performance would double every 18 months (being a combination of the effect of more transistors and the transistors being faster)”
Moore was remarkably prescient. The plot in the Wikipedia article is so close as to suggest that he knew something before it happened. And certainly transistor density contributes directly to the steady increase in computing performance. But being the picky person that I am, I’d like articles quoting Moore’s Law to quote what he actually wrote.