SAN FRANCISCO — On April 19, 1965, just over 50 years ago, Gordon Moore, then the head of research for Fairchild Semiconductor and later one of the co-founders of Intel, was asked by Electronics Magazine to submit an article predicting what was going to happen to integrated circuits, the heart of computing, in the next 10 years. Studying the trend he’d seen in the previous few years, Moore predicted that every year we’d double the number of transistors that could fit on a single chip of silicon so you’d get twice as much computing power for only slightly more money. When that came true, in 1975, he modified his prediction to a doubling roughly every two years. “Moore’s Law” has essentially held up ever since — and, despite the skeptics, keeps chugging along, making it probably the most remarkable example ever of sustained exponential growth of a technology.旧金山——就在50年前的1965年4月19日,《电子杂志》(Electronics Magazine)请求当时兼任仙童半导体公司(Fairchild Semiconductor)研发负责人、后来沦为英特尔(Intel)牵头创始人的戈登·摩尔(Gordon Moore)写出一篇文章,预测在接下来的10年里,作为计算出来核心的集成电路将不会经历什么样的发展。在对之前几年看见的趋势展开了研究后,摩尔应验,单个硅片上放置的晶体管数每年都会增加一倍,因此只需略为多花点钱,就能取得缩减到的计算能力。当这一点在1975年沦为现实后,摩尔将自己的预测改回大体每两年增加一倍。

此后,“摩尔定律”(Moore’s Law)基本上仍然获得应验,而且尽管遭了一些批评,它仍在大大前进。该定律因而有可能是有史以来体现一项技术持续呈圆形指数快速增长最知名的例子。For the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, I interviewed Moore, now 86, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, at a celebration in his honor co-hosted by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Intel. I asked him what he’d learned most from Moore’s Law having lasted this long.在摩尔定律问世50周年之际,我在旧金山探寻博物馆(Exploratorium)专访了现86岁高龄的摩尔。

那是一场为摩尔举行的庆典活动,由戈登与贝蒂·摩尔基金会(Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)同英特尔牵头举行。我回答他,摩尔定律的有效性持续了这么长时间,他仅次于的进账是什么。

“I guess one thing I’ve learned is once you’ve made a successful prediction, avoid making another one,” Moore said. “I’ve avoided opportunities to predict the next 10 or 50 years.”“我想要,我教给的一条是,一旦预测顺利了,就要防止再行做到预测,”摩尔说道。“我规避了预测接下来10年或50年会是什么情况的各种机会。

”But was he surprised by how long it has been proved basically correct?但在这么长时间里,摩尔定律都被证明基本准确,他实在车祸吗?“Oh, I’m amazed,” he said. “The original prediction was to look at 10 years, which I thought was a stretch. This was going from about 60 elements on an integrated circuit to 60,000 — a thousandfold extrapolation over 10 years. I thought that was pretty wild. The fact that something similar is going on for 50 years is truly amazing. You know, there were all kinds of barriers we could always see that [were] going to prevent taking the next step, and somehow or other, as we got closer, the engineers had figured out ways around these. But someday it has to stop. No exponential like this goes on forever.”“啊呀,我一挺惊讶的,”他说道。“最初是预测未来10年的情况,这我都以为是有所充分发挥了。也就是说,一个集成电路上的晶体管不会从约60个减少到6万个——在10年时间里提高到之前的1000倍。我以为这早已很可怕了。



像这样的指数快速增长会总有一天持续下去。”But what an exponential it’s been. In introducing the evening, Intel’s C.E.O., Brian Krzanich summarized where Moore’s Law has taken us. If you took Intel’s first generation microchip, the 1971 4004, and the latest chip Intel has on the market today, the fifth-generation Core i5 processor, he said, you can see the power of Moore’s Law at work: Intel’s latest chip offers 3,500 times more performance, is 90,000 times more energy efficient and about 60,000 times lower cost.然而,这是一种多么难以置信的指数快速增长啊。在主持人当晚的活动时,英特尔首席执行官科再奇(Brian Krzanich)对摩尔定律对我们的影响讫了总结。

他说道,想到英特尔的1971年公布第一代微芯片4004和目前市场上的近期一代英特尔芯片,也就是第五代酷睿i5(Core i5)处理器,就能看见摩尔定律的力量:近期一代芯片的性能提升了3500倍,能耗是原本的九万分之一,成本降到先前的六万分之一。To put that another way, Krzanich said Intel engineers did a rough calculation of what would happen had a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle improved at the same rate as microchips did under Moore’s Law: “Here are the numbers: [Today] you would be able to go with that car 300,000 miles per hour. You would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and all that for the mere cost of 4 cents! Now, you’d still be stuck on the [Highway] 101 getting here tonight, but, boy, in every opening you’d be going 300,000 miles an hour!”换回个角度来看呢?科再奇回应,英特尔的工程师展开了大体的计算出来,如果按照摩尔定律下微芯片的发展速度,1971年发售的一款大众甲壳虫(Volkswagen Beetle)汽车的性能不会有怎样的改良:“数据如下:(现在)这款车能直奔每小时30万英里(约合48万公里)。1加仑汽油(约合4升至)可以跑完200万英里,而且只要花4钱!时下,虽然今晚你有可能还是不会在赶到这里的途中木栅在101公路上,但天哪,只要依存,你们可是不会直奔30万英里的时速呢!”What is most striking in Moore’s 1965 article is how many predictions he got right about what these steadily improving microchips would enable. The article, entitled “Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits,” argued that: “Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers — or at least terminals connected to a central computer — automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment. The electronic wristwatch needs only a display to be feasible today. … In telephone communications, integrated circuits in digital filters will separate channels on multiplex equipment. [They] will also switch telephone circuits and perform data processing.”摩尔1965年的那篇文章中最令人吃惊的是,他对这些急剧提高的微芯片所能带给的变化所做到的许多预测都是精确的。为题《让集成电路填充更加多元件》(Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits)的这篇文章称之为:“集成电路将促成奇迹,比如家用电脑——或者最少是与中央计算机连接的终端——汽车自动控制和个人便携式通信设备。

如今电子手表只必须一个显示屏就可以了……电话通信领域,数字滤波器中的集成电路将在多路传输设备上有分开的地下通道。[它们]还将切换电话线路,展开数据处理。”Moore pretty much anticipated the personal computer, the cellphone, self-driving cars, the iPad, Big Data and the Apple Watch. How did he do that? (The only thing he missed, I jokingly told him, was “microwave popcorn.”)基本上,摩尔这是应验了个人电脑、手机、自动驾驶汽车、iPad、大数据和Apple Watch的经常出现。他是怎么做的?(我跟摩尔打趣,他唯一漏掉的就是“微波炉爆米花”了。

)“Well,” said Moore, “I had been looking at integrated circuits — [they] were really new at that time, only a few years old — and they were very expensive. There was a lot of argument as to why they would never be cheap, and I was beginning to see, from my position as head of a laboratory, that the technology was going to go in the direction where we would get more and more stuff on a chip and it would make electronics less expensive. … I had no idea it was going to turn out to be a relatively precise prediction, but I knew the general trend was in that direction and had to give some kind of a reason why it was important to lower the cost of electronics.”“这个嘛,”摩尔问,“我仍然在研究集成电路——[它们]当时还是新生事物,刚刚经常出现没有几年——而且十分便宜。有很多观点指出,它们总有一天都会低廉下来。

从一名实验室负责人的角度,我开始找到,这种技术未来的方向是,一枚芯片上不会容纳更加多的东西,而这不会让电子产品显得更加低廉……我不告诉这不会是一个较为精确的预测,但我告诉大体趋势是这样,而它一定会获取减少电子产品成本的某种理由。”Can it continue? Every year someone predicts the demise of Moore’s Law, and they’re wrong. With enough good engineers working on it, he hoped, “we won’t hit a dead end. … It’s [a] unique technology. I can’t see anything really comparable that has gone on for this long a period of time with exponential growth.”这样的趋势还不会之后吗?每年都有人预测摩尔定律将被超越,但他们都拢了。摩尔期望,凭借着充足多的杰出工程师的希望,“我们会走投无路……这是[一项]独有的技术。

我没找到任何能与之类比的技术可以持续这么长时间的指数快速增长。”But let’s remember that it was enabled by a group of remarkable scientists and engineers, in an America that did not just brag about being exceptional, but invested in the infrastructure and basic scientific research, and set the audacious goals, to make it so. If we want to create more Moore’s Law-like technologies, we need to invest in the building blocks that produced that America.不过,别忘了它是靠一批卓越的科学家和工程师来构建的,而那时的美国也会只告诉夸耀自己的卓越,而是不会投资于基础设施和基础科学研究,设置大胆的目标,使之沦为现实。如果我们想建构更加多合乎摩尔定律的技术,我们就必须投资于成就了当时的美国的基本要素。Alas today our government is not investing in basic research the way it did when the likes of Moore and Robert Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit and the other co-founder of Intel, were coming of age.惜啊,今天的政府不像摩尔和罗伯特·诺伊斯(Robert Noyce)茁壮的时代那样投资基础科学研究了。

诺伊斯是集成电路的牵头发明人,与摩尔一起创办了英特尔。“I’m disappointed that the federal government seems to be decreasing its support of basic research,” said Moore. “That’s really where these ideas get started. They take a long time to germinate, but eventually they lead to some marvelous advances. Certainly, our whole industry came out of some of the early understanding of the quantum mechanics of some of the materials. I look at what’s happening in the biological area, which is the result of looking more detailed at the way life works, looking at the structure of the genes and one thing and another. These are all practical applications that are coming out of some very fundamental research, and our position in the world of fundamental science has deteriorated pretty badly. There are several other countries that are spending a significantly higher percentage of their G.N.P. than we are on basic science or on science, and ours is becoming less and less basic.”“让我深感沮丧的是,联邦政府或许在增加对基础科研的反对,”摩尔说道。“基础科研知道是这些点子问世的地方。它们必须很长时间来孕育出,但最后不会促使难以置信的变革。



其他一些国家在基础科学或大的科学领域上的投放与国民生产总值的比值,要相比之下低于我们,而我们的研究更加瓦解基础科学。”How did he first get interested in science, I asked?我回答他,一开始是怎么对科学产生兴趣的?“My neighbor got a chemistry set and we could make explosives,” he said. “In those days, chemistry sets had some really neat things in them, and I decided about then I wanted to be a chemist not knowing quite what they did, and I continued my work in a home laboratory for some period of time. Got to the point where I was turning out nitroglycerin in small production quantities and turning it to dynamite. … A couple ounces of dynamite makes a marvelous firecracker. That really got my early interest in it. You couldn’t duplicate that today, but there are other opportunities. You know, I look at what some of my grandkids are doing, for example, those robotics and the like. These are spectacular. They’re really making a lot of progress.”“我的一家人有一套简陋化学实验玩具,我们可以做到炸药,”他说道。“那个时候的实验玩具里有有趣的东西,我大约就是当时要求要当一名化学家,虽然并不知道化学家到底是做到什么的。我后来在家庭实验室里之后倒腾,做到了一段时间。



”Looking back on Moore’s Law and the power of computing that it has driven, I asked Moore what he thought was its most important contribution over the past 50 years.我回答摩尔,回过头来看摩尔定律以及不受它驱动的计算能力,他本人指出它在过去50年里的仅次于贡献是什么?“Wow!” he said. “You know, just the proliferation of computing power. We’ve just seen the beginning of what computers are going to do for us.”“哇!”他说道。“这个,就是计算能力的爆炸性快速增长。关于计算机不会为我们做到什么,我们目前看见的不过是个结尾。”How so?何以见得?“Oh, I think incrementally we see them taking over opportunities that we tried to do without them before and were not successful,” he added. “It’s kind of the evolution into the machine intelligence, if you wish, and this is not happening in one step. To me, it’s happening in a whole bunch of increments. I never thought I’d see autonomous automobiles driving on the freeways. It wasn’t many years ago [they] put out a request to see who could build a car that could go across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas from a place in Southern California, and several engineering teams across the country set out to do this. Nobody got more than about 300 yards before there was a problem. Two years later, they made the full 25-mile trip across this desert track, and which I thought was a huge achievement, and from that it was just a blink before they were driving on the freeways. I think we’re going to see incremental advances like that in a variety of other areas.”“恩,我想要我们不会渐渐看见,以前没计算机时我们企图去逃跑但没能顺利的一些机会,现在于是以被计算机拿去构建,”他补足道。




我指出,我们不会在其他各种领域看见这类日积月累的变革。”Did he worry, I asked Moore, whose own microprocessors seemed as sharp as ever, that machines would really start to replace both white-collar and blue-collar labor at a scale that could mean the end of work for a lot of people?摩尔的思维看上去与昔日一样灵活。我回答他,否担忧,机器知道开始大规模代替蓝领和白领劳动者,导致一大批人丧失工作?“Don’t blame me!” he exclaimed! “I think it’s likely we’re going to continue to see that. You know, for several years, I have said we’re a two-class society separated by education. I think we’re seeing the proof of some of that now.”“别怪我!”他大声说。“我想要,我们可能会持续看见这种现象。



”When was the moment he came home and said to his wife, Betty, “Honey, they’ve named a law after me?”他第一次返回家告诉他妻子贝蒂,“亲爱的,他们用我的名字命名了一条定律”是在什么时候?Answered Moore: “For the first 20 years, I couldn’t utter the terms Moore’s Law. It was embarrassing. It wasn’t a law. Finally, I got accustomed to it where now I could say it with a straight face.”摩尔问道:“头20年,我仍然无法把‘摩尔定律’这几个字说道出口。过于失望了。它不是什么定律。最后我再一习以为常了,现在我可以面不改色心不跳地提及它。

”Given that, is there something that he wishes he had predicted — like Moore’s Law — but did not? I asked.我回答,既然如此,是不是什么是他期望自己能预测到——就像摩尔定律那样——但实质上未预测到的?“The importance of the Internet surprised me,” said Moore. “It looked like it was going to be just another minor communications network that solved certain problems. I didn’t realize it was going to open up a whole universe of new opportunities, and it certainly has. I wish I had predicted that.”“互联网的重要性让我深感吃惊,”摩尔说道。“当初显然,它不过是不会沦为一种用作解决问题特定问题的不过于最重要的通信网络。我没有意识到它不会带给无数新的机会,但它似乎做了。