Moore's law left other levers partially tapped

By: Mitch Hayenga (no.delete@this.thanks.com), April 20, 2017 9:03 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
someone (someone.delete@this.somewhere.com) on April 19, 2017 6:31 am wrote:
> 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).
>
> I think this is too pessimistic.
>
> Even if you froze process development/improvement totally the industry could probably
> coast with >2% average annual improvement from design optimisation, circuit improvements,
> better understanding product usage, manufacturability headroom etc for at least a decade.
> When you are on a product development treadmill tied to process shrinks an awful lot of
> potential is left on the cutting room floor so to speak to meet schedule.
>
> In practice, in such a world product improvements would be lumpier than 2% and much less
> frequent than annual because no one will burn mask set and silicon verification costs
> every year for just 2%.
>
> Of course processes will continue to improve, just not as fast and in the same ways as
> in the past. Less frequent process changes means longer time for designers to fully use
> the potential of each process. I think we clearly see that with Intel's 14 nm.


Eh, performance gains have been pretty paltry even with some scaling. Recently I made this graph mining data from spec.org. I took the highest SPECINT score (not rate) for each calendar year since the Pentium Pro. Converted between SPEC 95/2000/2006 by using a conversion ratio (assumed highest SPEC2000 score in 2006 == highest SPEC2k6 score in 2006).

SPECINT Performance Scaling

Even with scaling, we've only been getting 5%/yr on SPECINT for the last 7 years. The previous 35%/yr fits nicely with the old rule of thumb that performance doubled every 2 years (rule of 72).
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