HP Labs Innovates to Sustain Moore’s Law

I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a presentation by Dr. R. Stanley Williams at an HP user forum event in March 2000 in San Jose.

Subsequently, I ran across mention of his work at HP Labs in various places, including Technology Review.

So, when I read in PC World that

Hewlett-Packard researchers may have figured out a way to prolong Moore’s Law by making chips more powerful and less power-hungry

I didn’t immediately dismiss this as marketing hyperbole.

Because of Moore’s Law, transistor density has traditionally grabbed all the attention when it comes to next-generation chips. However power consumption, and the resulting heat generated, are also gating (sorry, I couldn’t resist that!) factors when it comes to chip design. This is why there is a well-established trend in the development of multicore chip architectures. With the multicore paradigm, it’s an aggregated responsibility to ensure that Moore’s Law is of ongoing relevance.

Williams has found a way to sustain the relevance of Moore’s Law without having to make use of a multicore architecture.

Working with Gregory S. Snyder, the HP team has redesigned the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) by introducing a nano-scale interconnect (a field-programmable nanowire interconnect, FPNI). As hinted earlier in this posting, the net effect is to allow for significantly increased transistor density and reduced power consumption. A very impressive combination!

Although Sun executive Scott McNealy is usually associated with the aphorism “The network is the computer”, it may now be HP’s turn to recapitulate.

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