Moore's Law will turn 45 this year and it's facing a mid-life crisis of sorts. In 1965, Gordon Moore (the future co-founder of Intel), observed [pdf] that the number of transistors that could fit onto an integrated circuit roughly doubled every year. His simple prediction, which he later adjusted to a doubling every two years, has become a de facto industry standard, and in some ways, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Despite constant murmurs about Moore's Law's imminent demise (including by Moore himself), researchers keep churning out faster, more powerful computers right on schedule. How long can technology continue its exponential trajectory towards smaller, faster, cheaper? Here's a look at our brightest hopes for keeping up with Moore's Law.
The first integrated circuit, pictured here, was invented by Jack Kilby in 1958; it measured 1.6 by 11.1 millimeters and featured a single transistor. Compare that to the processors in your laptop, which contain hundreds of millions of transistors, each measuring just 45 nanometers across.