A fascinating article last week by CNET’s Brooke Crothers on efforts by IBM to use carbon DNA molecules to extend Moore’s Law. Readers of my books will remember that Moore’s Law is the prediction by Intel founder Gordon Moore that improvements in semiconductor manufacturing technology translate to computer chips (the basic building blocks of computing applications) getting smaller, faster and cheaper all the time.
As the “smaller” part of the equation moves into the realm of nanotechnology, some researchers have worried that Moore’s Law may reach its limit, largely because the cost of new fabrication facilities could escalate dramatically. IBM is experimenting with using the carbon molecules as a kind of scaffolding on the substrate, giving a template for carbon nanotubes to “self-assemble” on the surface. The attractiveness of this approach is that traditional semiconductor technologies could still be used.
I stand by my prediction–based largely on promises from those who know much better than I do–that Moore’s Law will continue to drive the information economy at least for the duration of my working life, and maybe even a few generations after that.