Intel unveils revolutionary computer chip design

Intel's new "tri-gate" transistors could help keep Moore's Law going for years to come.

In the race to build a faster computer chip, there is literally nowhere to go but up: Today’s chip surfaces are packed with the tiniest electronic switches the laws of physics allow, but Intel Corp. says it is blowing past those limits with a breakthrough, three-dimensional transistor design it revealed May 4.

Analysts call it one of the most significant developments in silicon transistor design since the integrated circuit was invented in the 1950s. It opens the way for faster smart phones, lighter laptops, and a new generation of supercomputers—and possibly for powerful new products engineers have yet to dream up.

Minuscule fins jutting from the surface of the typically flat transistors improve performance without adding size, just as skyscrapers make the most of a small square of land.…Read More

Can green tech operate under Moore’s Law?

Doubling the performance of clean-energy technologies every 18 months, as the semiconductor industry has seen with Moore’s Law, is a tough goal to hit. But executives from General Electric and Intel say the same technical and business concepts that underpin Moore’s Law can play out in green tech, CNET reports. Green technologies are following the same type of cost curve as Moore’s Law did in semiconductors, says Steve Fludder, vice president of Ecomagination at GE. In the case of solar, higher volumes of manufacturing of silicon cells have steadily cut costs every year, while newer thin-film technologies pave the way for lower prices and jumps in performance. The same is happening in wind power, where the quality and reliability of turbines has improved as the industry has ramped up in the past decade. Now, the industry is looking at direct-drive turbines for a boost in performance, Fludder said. Organizations can save a significant amount of money by reducing the energy consumption of their data centers, which has an environmental benefit as well. But some of the biggest challenges are institutional, not technical, experts say. The technology is readily available and the economic incentive is there, but IT managers’ performance historically has not been measured based on energy consumption, said Chris Mines, senior vice president and research director at Forrester Research…

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