As information moves on with a steady pace, technology is becoming stronger, faster and cheaper with time. The technological boom we are experiencing today has been mainly due to the impressive and innovative development of computers or computer development. Engineers are making them better and better and pushing the boundaries of what the hardware has to offer.
However, we have now reached a point where the development may be threatened to come to halt, or in the very least, slowed down. We seem to have reached a pinnacle and there are major obstacles barring our way forward.
Computer Development Graph Falling Down
Here are the four reasons why computer development has slowed down and might be even more so in the future.
When computers were first built on silicon, engineers at the acclaimed company Intel observed that the development of processors is thanks to the compact size of transistors, the building blocks of a computer. And as we make transistors smaller and smaller, the processors will get faster and faster. This observation was named Moore’s Law, and it is the first obstacle computer development is facing right now.
The problem is, we have now reached a point where making transistors anymore smaller is not just unfeasible, it is physically impossible. We have made transistors that are almost as tiny as a few atoms put together and simply cannot make them anymore smaller. Our technology has developed so much, that the laws of nature are now prohibiting our progress.
Regardless, companies are still able to make processors faster, thanks to multi-layer architecture, which simply involves stacking multiple processor cores on top of each other and melding them into one unit. It’s a simple solution to bypass the Moore’s Law, however, it creates a new problem; cost.
Making processors like this is costing companies up to 10 times the amount it takes to make processors conventionally. Consequently the price of the final product also skyrockets, which scares away potential customers. Engineers now have to struggle with the fact that even if they can make a faster machine, in the end it won’t matter since there will be no one around to buy it for its enormous price tag.
More performance means more power, and computers today chug a lot of voltage. This is why phones are struggling with battery life and desktop PC’s are increasing your electricity bills. Fast computers are demanding a ridiculous amount of power supply and at this point, it may be a bit too much to ask.
Engineers have to make computers that use power efficiently, but at this stage of the development, they are struggling to make them any more efficient.
Customers today want their hardware to be customizable. Computers are having a tough time keeping up this demand. Development of better hardware is complicated by requirements of making it open-ended. Closed-end systems are easily manufactured but when the consumer wants flexibility, then engineers have to extend their development time and effort.
Overall, the challenge of computer development is that we have squeezed every ounce of performance out of our processors, and there really isn’t more that can be done. It remains to be seen what innovations engineers will come up with in the future.