What Will Replace Silicon?

Eventually the doubling and redoubling of computer power that has driven the information age will cease. Then what?

The economic destiny and prosperity of entire nations may rest on one question: Can silicon-based computer technology sustain Moore's law beyond 2020? Moore's law (see sidebar) is the engine pulling a trillion-dollar industry. It's the reason kids assume that it's their birthright to get a video-game system each Christmas that's almost twice as powerful as the one they got last Christmas. It's the reason you can receive (and later throw away) a musical birthday card that contains more processing power than the combined computers of the Allied Forces in World War II.

The secret behind Moore's law is that chipmakers double...

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