Rise of the Machines: Moore's Law

Mark A. Strain, P.E.


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Course Overview

Advances in technology throughout human history have never been as evident as the advances in computer technology in the latter half of the twentieth century and the early part of the twenty-first century. Technological progress is no longer seemingly liner; it is clearly exponential. The trend in the increase in computational power is predicted by Moore's Law.

Moore's Law is a term used to describe the increase in computing power over time. Moore's Law is the observation that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit (or microprocessor) doubles every two years. This course describes how Moore’s Law has proven true for the past fifty years and discusses how the computing industry will have one of two fates. Either the increase in computing power over time will eventually level off due to physical limitations or further advances in computing power will allow processing power to exponentially increase. Could this exponential increase in processing power eventually lead to a technological singularity?

This exponential computing trend has affected all avenues of life including (by not limited to) the following: personal computers, communications, transportation, navigation, agriculture, medical, world finance, education, and social media. Some industry experts believe Moore's Law will reach a fundamental limit within the next few decades, while others expect a revolution in the microprocessor technology to maintain the trend.

Many visionaries feel that we humans will soon reach a point in our existence that can be described as unpredictable and maybe even unsettling. This point in history (if the predictions are true) will be the result of an intelligence explosion caused by a technological singularity. A technological singularity is the point in human history where life or even existence after the event which is based on technological progress is unpredictable or incomprehensible.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course the student will learn:

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