Moore’s Law, Productivity, and Data-Driven Design


by Scott Simpson

ackling the ubiquitous, disruptive nature of exponentially increasing computing power

50 years ago, in April of 1965, Gordon Moore postulated what has widely become known “Moore’s Law”, predicting that the performance of computer chips would increase exponentially every 18 months.

Since then, there have been 33 “doublings” of chip capacity, which means that today’s microprocessors are vastly smaller, quicker, and cheaper than their predecessors. Computing power has essentially become free, and the ubiquitous nature of technology has made it both indispensable and highly disruptive. As a result, there is scarcely an industry, from finance to manufacturing to healthcare to media, which has not experienced fundamental transformation.

At the outset of the computer age, multi-ton room-sized machines were needed handle routine tasks, and the applications were primarily military in nature. As computers became more powerful, they began to shrink in cost and size, and new applications were devised to focus business and finance. The last decade has seen a huge surge in technology applied to personal uses and social media, which has had a profound influence on modern culture, both domestically and globally. Millennials are the first true “digital natives”— they have never known a world that was not governed by Moore’s Law.

How disruptive is this phenomenon? As one example, the failure rate in the electronics industry is 90 percent, primarily because the pace of change is so rapid that today’s breakthrough idea is quickly superseded by an even better one tomorrow. We live in a world where supercomputers can now be worn on the wrist, and where problem solving can easily crowd-sourced to the lowest bidder. Search engines like Google are so effective that the Internet has essentially become a repository of shared human consciousness, equally accessible to all. It might be said that we are suffering not just from information overload, but from an innovation glut.

Read the full article here


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