By 2040, computers will be using more electricity than we can generate and transistors will stop shrinking in 2021 say researchers
The world has been manufacturing and using PCs at a rapid pace ever since the first personal computer was introduced. During all this time we went on to assume that electricity to power this growth will come naturally. However, The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has raised a red flag which can put a great deal of pressure on us to manufacture more electricity.
Semiconductor Industry Association has produced a study which said that computer-crazy society will be running short of electricity by 2040. The report, titled International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors 2.0′ (ITRS), predicts transistors will stop shrinking after the year 2021.
The report claims that computing is facing far more serious issues than just to sustain Moore’s law. One of the biggest of these is electricity. As a report in The Register too points out quoting SIA study, “The world’s biggest computing infrastructure already uses a significant slice of the world’s power, and the ITRS says the current trajectory is self-limiting….” As by the year 2040, “computing will need more electricity than the world can produce,” says the news report.
If we go by the ITRS study then 2021 will signal the end of an era where computers got faster and faster as transistors shrunk to every tinier sizes. This means tech firms will have to think of new ways to make computers powerful enough to keep up with demands.
“Driverless cars and personalised medicine along with countless other applications of intelligent systems are on the horizon,” the Semiconductor Industry Association added.
The ITRS report further says that it may not be financially viable for semiconductor companies to keep reducing the the transistor sizes. The report suggests that the companies instead need to focus their efforts on 3D printing and other technologies that may help better utilise the available space.
“Minimal power consumption of transistor operation has become the main requirement for the semiconductor industry dictated by the new ecosystem of the electronics industry. On the other hand, the requirement for a continuously increasing number of transistors continues unabated. To satisfy the product demand for higher transistor counts the semiconductor industry is approaching a new era of scaling,” says the report.
The year 2040 carries a huge resonance in the tech world, because some people believe that’s when artificial intelligence will become as clever as humans – a moment known as the singularity.