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.
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.