If you have read 20th century fiction novels, you might know that almost everything that was predicted in those magazines turned out to be true today! In a way it depicts how long we have come! From using a room sized computer that processed only a few operations per second, to owning smartphones with which we can even control our home appliances. Using advanced concepts such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, etc., we are moving towards developing a system that mimics human brain. However, execution of powerful algorithms prepared using these need more power. But will we be able to deliver such computing power in the coming years? Why are we doubting it? Read the blog further and know more!
What Started This Debate?
Well, let’s take only one law of physics for now. Back in 60’s when chips were able to accommodate only a few transistors, Dr. George Moore made a prediction that transformed the computational industry forever. He gave a law which stated that the number of transistors that can be accommodated in a single chip will be doubled in every 18 months (roughly). This law remained unquestioned for a very long time but it may not remain true forever. The reason behind this is the fact that there are some physical limitations that we cannot surpass. A circuit can be shrunk down only up to a limit. Also, if Moore’s Law continues till 2050, the professionals will have to design, develop and embed transistors that are smaller than a single atom of hydrogen. Given that hydrogen has smallest atoms of all elements, this is something next to impossible. Also, it demands heavy investment for research and development. In rarest of the rare case, if we are successful in designing such chips, each of them will cost billions.
Therefore, Moore’s Law will no longer remain fully correct, as by 2020 the components will remain only 5 nanometers apart! So the time is not far away when we’ll have to look for alternatives rather than just taking measures and shrinking the system more! And this is what marked the beginning of debate. This implies that the laws of physics might limit computing speed!
Also, the computational speed depends directly on the movement of electrons in the form of electricity and there is a limit up to which these can be shot. We cannot just increase it exponentially anyway!
Will The Law Get Completely Out Of Picture?
Moore’s law that affects computing extensively is not a universal law. It is a basic trend that was observed. Therefore, it staying valid or not will not mean end of the research and development in this field. You might be wondering why are we even discussing about this? It is because we no longer double the number of transistors on a single chip periodically but the progress will stop. Not today, not ever!
However, things have changed a lot, it not about chips anymore, it is more about algorithms, software and applications. If you have an efficient algorithm, then working even on average performing chips won’t be daunting! Moreover, if we keep Intel aside, maximum companies are working with average performance chips and still are doing pretty well! This points out that there are other ways with which we can increase computational power without focusing only on the chips!
What Are The Alternatives?
Well, there are many alternatives and the best one to improve your system’s performance without upgrading your chip is using cloud services. Cloud computing has not only provided endless opportunities but also reduced the headache of maintaining the systems. You just need to take care of the one on which you are working and have a decent internet connection. Rest all will be sorted!
Well, the use of Silicon won’t be abandoned completely anytime soon, but we need to find something reliable soon!
Are We Being Too Worried?
To know about the answer, just think about the questions that follow. Is your system really laggy even if you are using i7 processor? How much research are you indulged in? Are the algorithms utterly useless on your system? Unless you are into hardcore research work, you might not have any issues with your present system and the rest is taken care of by cloud computing services! So for now we are doing just fine.
Moreover, there are plenty of things about which we don’t know. It is similar to the scenario of early 1900’s when we were not aware of the things which exist today. Possibly we are in the same scenario right now! The concepts such as cognitive computing might look promising but who knows if the computers will look similar to what we are using today or not!
Yes, the concepts of physics will no longer be valid for evaluating computing speed, we believe the future of computing will be outstanding! What do you think? We’ll be glad to know about your thoughts on this, and thus don’t forget to leave your comments in the section given below!