Intel: 1.2 sextillion transistors worldwide by 2016

Written by Clive Webster

September 13, 2011 // 8:30 p.m.

Tags: #idf-2011 #idf-2012 #intel #intel-12-sextillion-transistors-worldwide-by-2016 #moores-law #predictions #transistor #tri-gate

Intel CEO Paul Otellini has predicted that there will be 1.2 sextillion transistors worldwide by 2016, meaning that electronic devices will become more powerful and ubiquitous.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini has said that he expects there to be 1.6 sextillion transistors worldwide by 2016. He bases this claim on previous exponential growth in transistor usage and current trends in computing.

The transition to mobility and pervasive connectivity led to the first significant uptick [of transistors in the world] in the early 2000’s, reaching 5 quintillion transistors by the end of 2005,’ said Otellini.

The explosion of connected devices and the corresponding data centre build-out grew transistor use to 80 quintillion between 2005 and 2010 – a 15x increase in just five years.’ Otellini’s statement was backed up with a graph showing a steep exponential curve of transistor use over five years. The next slide added another five years to the time axes and saw this curve shrink to an insignificant bump:

The growth in transistors needed to manage, interpret and store the data that we’re going to create in the next five years will take us past the 1 sextillion mark. For those of you not familiar with the sextillion, the sextillion is 1,000 quintillions, or, for the scientifically minded 10x1021’ By 2016 the prediction is that the world will contain 1,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 transistors.

This makes the transistor usage over the last three decades look like a flat line by comparison, ’ added Otellini.

Excited by the thought that progress will continue to accelerate, or do you think we’ll hit a wall before breaking the 1 sextillion barrier sometime around 2015? Let us know in the forum.


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