Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Moore’s Law

"Moore’s Law (that the number of transistors placed on a chip keeps doubling every 18 months or so) has been true for more than 40 years and is likely to remain true at least until about 2020, by which time it should be technically possible to put a single bit of information on a single atom. At such tiny scales, the switching time of an atom (the time taken to switch a “0” state into a “1” state,... or vice versa) is femto-seconds, i.e. 10^-15 of a second. There are a trillion trillion atoms in any hand held object, so if each atom could be “nanoteched” into a “nanocomputer”, with each atom switching in femto- seconds, then the total computing capacity of such a hand sized device would be about 10^40 bits a second, which is about 10^24 (i.e. a trillion trillion) times the equivalent estimated switching capacity of the human brain (which is thought to be about 10^16 bits per second). Reversible (i.e. non heat producing) computing techniques will allow 3D circuits to be made with virtually no limit to size, since there would be no heat dissipation problem, as we have today. One is then free to conceive of asteroid sized computers with a bit processing rate of about 10^60 bits per second, vastly superior to the human race. With asteroid sized (topological) quantum computers, with their exponentially superior processing speeds compared to today’s classical computers, the superiority becomes even more astronomical."

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