CHIPS AHOY

TWO DAZZLING TECHNICAL ADVANCES PROMISE TO FUEL THE COMPUTER REVOLUTION--AT LEAST FOR A FEW MORE YEARS

Computer scientists, like the characters in Russian novels, tend to fall into two camps: the optimists and the pessimists. The pessimists grouse in books, at industry conferences and to every journalist in sight that the computer revolution has gone about as far as it can go. They argue that the size of the atom--and the electrons that surround it--puts a limit on how many transistors can be squeezed onto the surface of a silicon chip. The optimists, represented by Intel billionaire Gordon Moore, believe chips will keep getting smaller and faster at a predictable rate (which Moore famously described, in 1965,...

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