Computer Chips: how small can we go?

Cooler Media

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Computer Chips: how small can we go?



Moore’s Law argues that every 2 years the amount of transistors on a single microchip doubles. For years, Moore is right. The amount of transistors increased exponentially, while the chips decreased in size. We enter a time where this becomes almost physically impossible. So, what does the future of computer chips hold if Moore’s Law comes to an end? We figured it out for you! Check out our AnyStory Short.

The creation

At Cooler Media we spend a lot of our time on “free work” in the form of our AnyStories. The only requirement? “Make it bold!”
I enjoyed making the Computer Chips AnyStory very much. It was a challening, but fun project to design and animate, since I mainly used isometry. When an animator used isometric shapes, they animate and design at an angle of 30°. This is why it is challenging. It demands a different way of thinking. Continuously, you ask yourself: how do I build the layers? How do I illuminate the object? How does one object slide nicely into the other? These challenges made this AnyStory very entertaining to work on.

“Because of the extensive use of isometrics, this AnyStory presented many challenges. In addition, it helps that it is just a cool subject. Without computer chips, animation would not exist.”

– Technical Animator Jamie

Our AnyStory knowlegde partners

The script

In 1965, Gordon E. Moore predicted that for the upcoming decades every two years the number of transistors packed on a single computer chip would double. Meaning: the speed and capacity of computers would grow exponentially!

Computer chips did become both faster, smaller, and cheaper to produce. The Apollo Guidance Computer brought us to the moon, while having less computing power than your modern toaster. We now have chips with 2.6 trillion transistors crammed on a single 7 nanometre chip. A nanometre? That’s one billionth of a meter!

Nearly sixty years later, Moore’s Law is still strong, but nearing it’s end. Investments in these developments are becoming more and more expensive, and the dimensions we’re talking about are getting closer to the minuscule scale of atoms.

In the next decades, researchers will focus on the design phase of electronics, and look at solutions such as photonics in which electrical signals are replaced by light signals. Or quantum computing where a processor calculates multiple calculations at once instead of one at a time. 

So even without Moore’s law the development of computer chips does not stand still!

Cooler Media 2023 - Nick (klein)

Nick Bökkerink
Explanation Director

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