Macro-economic consequences of Moore's law?

By: RichardC (tich.delete@this.pobox.com), April 19, 2017 5:56 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Foo_ (foo.delete@this.nomail.com) on April 19, 2017 1:20 am wrote:
> The end of Moore's law seems very likely in the 5 to 15 years timeframe now.
> Are there any resources studying the macro-economic consequences thereof?
>
> I can try to infer a few. The hardware industry will switch to a model yielding 20%+ improvements
> per year on various metrics to model yielding a mere 2% per year (ballpark figures, of course).
> This will impact the software ecosystem heavily. Software growth and evolution for 40 years has
> been enabled by the "free lunch" brought by hardware advances. When the free lunch is over, the
> software industry will also transition to a different model with a much more modest rate of evolution.

It seems to me that for at least the last 5 years the main technological constraint
has been power-efficiency rather than density. The market for desktop computers has been
in decline, while mobile phone/laptop/tablets (all sensitive to battery life/size/weight
and heat dissipation) and cloud servers (sensitive to throughput-per-watt and TCO) have been
growing rapidly.

From that point of view, it's arguable that we will diverge from (or have already diverged from)
Moore's Law not because we've hit physical limits of the technology, but because the investments
in R&D and manufacturing are being redirected from efforts to increase density, into efforts to
improve power-efficiency, which currently appears to be more economically valuable in the growth
markets.

Software is mostly stuck back around 1995, and it's going to take a long time to catch up (and from
my personal experience, the current fad for offshoring/outsourcing to cheap-but-inexperienced
teams in India/China/etc who lack wide hardware/software knowledge is going to be a drag on progress).



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