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Critiquing the Macroeconomics of the ITRS More Than Moore Approach

This has been originally published on EBN.

The electronics industry has been mourning the potential demise of Moore’s Law for a long time. I think it’s too soon to start planning the funeral.

In a recent article by Richard Gray, published on DailyMail.com, the author makes this claim:

The semiconductor industry, which has used the observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore as its target development in recent decades, is now set to abandon the approach. The move is thought to be a reflection that companies are struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation required to cram ever more transistors onto a finite space.

I must vehemently object. As a Moore’s Law enthusiast and author of two volumes about the semiconductor industry, I believe that Moore’s Law has a bright future. I’m not referring solely to the immediate future, but also to the ways that this approach could benefit greatly from the Fourth Industrial Revolution in form of the Internet of Things (IoT).

According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), the industry body that sets out the direction it will take, is holding its final meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, this week as it prepares to lay out its plans for 2015 to 2030. While I am certainly glad that the focus of ITRS meeting is to define new drivers for the industry as a way to create a path of productivity and profitability, I am concerned that the ITRS plans to follow an ‘More than Moore’ approach that shall take into consideration a top-down system-driven roadmap framework.

I may be the only semiconductor industry analyst who is not just optimistic about the future of Moore’s Law but who has also provided concrete solution to sustain the productivity and profitability resulting from the progress of Moore’s Law. Being cited as an engineer-cum-economist by a superstar economist like Professor Ravi Batra in his recent volume End Unemployment Now, speaks to my technology and macroeconomic analytical skills. In order to sustain profitability of any project a proper macroeconomic policy is essential because the return of investment on any project depends on the health of macroeconomy, which is nothing but the basic forces of supply and demand. Take a look at the video below for a quick introduction to crony capitalism:

 

The industry analysts who have been pessimistic about the progress of Moore’s Law, have not studied or understood the macroeconomics behind Moore’s Law. In my second volume Sustaining Moore’s Law, I said:

While Moore’s Law progressed predictably on the physical side as transistor dimensions shrank, macroeconomics was completely ignored by American businesses. Over the past 50 years, Moore’s Law has been scaling at all costs and ignoring macro-economy. Moore’s Law can easily continue for the foreseeable future if the chip manufacturing industry becomes sustainable by having a balanced economy. That will require some major macro-economic reforms for eliminating the gap between supply and demand caused by the gap between wages and productivity. Restoring a free-market economy in the U.S. will not only ensure the progress of high technology and innovation, thereby sustaining the progress of Moore’s Law, but will also help the global semiconductor industry progress to 450 mm diameter silicon wafers in order to improve its profitability from mass production.

When ITRS takes into consideration a top-down system-driven approach, I would highly recommend that they implement plans for ensuring a sustainable macroeconomic progress that go beyond reforming the existing business models, supply chains, and corporate managerial reforms. The initial focus must be on reviving the industry and knowledge based global economy with simple yet practical solutions. The second phase would usher in a fourth industrial revolution in form of Internet of Things (IoT) while learning from the mistakes of third industrial revolution, which violated laws of macroeconomics leading to an unsustainable growth.

I propose an approach of minimum necessities and maximum amenities that would sustain the consumer demand for advanced electronic gadgets, which would in turn increase investments in semiconductor industry and more circulation of currency within economy. Additionally, a transition to 450 mm silicon wafers has the potential to not only help the manufacturers in the industry but would also the end consumers. This transition to 450 mm diameter silicon wafers is critical to address the ongoing economic depression in global economy.

The contribution of Moore’s observation to global GDP growth is approximately 20%. The semiconductor industry and ITRS have an opportunity to play a major role in sustaining this growth by means of implementing smart macroeconomic policies. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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