Intel's Pat Gelsinger talked about the road ahead and says Intel is confident they'll be able to shrink their chips to 10nm within the next ten years:
Speaking about Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's eponymous "law" regarding the expected doubling of transistors per integrated circuit every two years, Gelsinger noted that there was a time when he and his Intel colleagues wondered if they'd ever be able to scale chips below 100 nanometers.
"But we did do that, and today we see a clear way to get to under 10 nanometers. With Moore's Law we always have about 10 years of visibility into the future, so beyond 10 nanometers, we're not sure how we'll do it," he said.
Intel debuted its 45nm process late last year and has been ramping its Penryn line of 45nm processors steadily throughout this year. The next die shrink milestone will be the 32nm process, set to kick off next year, followed by 14nm a few years after that and then sub-10nm, if all goes according to plan.
Gelsinger described the elemental hoops Intel has had to jump through to achieve each "tick" milestone in the chip maker's relentless pursuit of Moore's Law, noting that while each new process adds materials used in novel ways, modern processors are still built on a "silicon scaffolding."
"We are putting more and more of the periodic table onto that silicon scaffolding. Today we use about half of the elements on the periodic table. When [Intel co-founder Robert] Noyce and Moore started, they used six elements," Gelsinger said.