AMD CEO thinks Moore’s Law still makes sense

Semiconductor industry pioneer, Intel co-founder, and originator of Moore’s Law, Gordon Moore, passed away at his Hawaii residence on March 24, 2023, at the age of 94. His most renowned proclamation, made in 1965, posited that the number of transistors on a chip would double annually for the subsequent decade. Moore later revised his prediction, extending the time frame to two years. Professor Caverns Mead of the California Institute of Technology distilled this phenomenon into a governing principle for the semiconductor sector, dubbing it “Moore’s Law,” and it gained widespread recognition.

Recently, Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, was interviewed by Barron’s Weekly and shared her perspective on Moore’s Law, stating that it remains extant, albeit at a decelerated pace. To continue enhancing performance and efficiency, she explained, alternative approaches must be pursued. AMD has adopted the Chiplet design and implemented 3D packaging, supplemented by other innovative technologies, software, and algorithm optimizations, to maintain its current performance growth trajectory.

Lisa Su Robert N. Noyce Medal

“File: AMD CEO Lisa Su 20150603.jpg” by Gene Wang is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When asked about challenges limiting CPU design, Dr. Su acknowledged the escalating costs of transistors and diminishing returns from density improvements and overall energy savings. Nevertheless, progress advances incrementally, with considerable efforts expended in the 3nm domain and the pursuit of 2nm technologies. She confirmed that AMD would continue to utilize Chiplet designs in an attempt to circumvent some of Moore’s Law’s obstacles.

Dr. Su’s outlook aligns with that of Mark Papermaster, AMD’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, who asserted last year that Moore’s Law would persist for another six to eight years without waning. In contrast, Nvidia’s founder and CEO, Jensen Huang, stated in a video call with the media last year that, given the substantial cost increases, neither doubling performance at the same cost nor halving cost for the same performance is viable any longer. He maintained that the notion of decreasing chip costs over time has become obsolete, declaring Moore’s Law dead.