Intel chief architect spoke about the future of semiconductors
One of the fundamental axioms of recent decades in the semiconductor industry has been Moore's law. Recently, there are growing doubts about the ability of manufacturers to continue to regularly increase the number of transistors. Intel chief architect Raja Koduri is optimistic about the future, saying that by 2030 there will be a 50-fold increase in the density of transistors.
Raja Koduri expressed his opinion on this issue at the Hot Chips conference. According to him, Moore's law is not only alive, but will continue to determine the development of semiconductors for the next 10 years. He is confident that technology is not only not slowing down, approaching the fundamental limit of development, but is about to enter the growth phase. So, if modern chips contain 30-40 billion transistors, then in 10 years the first chips with a trillion transistors will go on sale. Note that such a chip already exists, but it is many times larger than traditional processors.
According to the representative of Intel, it is necessary to pass several key stages, each of which will have a significant impact on the development of the industry in the next decade. The first step will focus on the 10-nanometer FinFET technology with further improvements in step scaling and tripling its density. After that, the FinFET architecture is transformed into nanowires (GAAFET), doubling the previous number of transistors, resulting in a six-fold increase in the total number of transistors. The NMOS and PMOS nanowires can then be superimposed on each other for another doubling or cumulative magnification of 12 times. Despite the fact that all this is a distant prospect, technologies are being actively explored right now.
Raja Koduri is confident that die stacking and packaging technologies will provide the future of the semiconductor industry. This means that wafer-to-wafer overlap will additionally double the number of transistors, or 24 times the cumulative increase. The final step could be crystal-plate stacking, which would provide another doubling. All this will allow to increase the density of transistors by 50 times within 10 years.
"I'd like to remind everyone that these are not just cartoons on paper," said Koduri. "Everything I've described here today is happening in labs across the world. The vision will play out over time – maybe a decade or more – but it will play out."