Monthly Archives: November 2013

“To the Finish” … and Beyond?

Can we continue to make computing devices smaller and/or faster?  Can we do this without limit?  If so, how?  What’s the next generation?

Microchip designers use a wonderful armoury of terminology, most of it (deliberately, one suspects) impenetrable to outsiders.  However, one of the – on the surface at least – least alarming, and certainly most charming, is the phrase “To the finish”.  It’s an intriguing term and behind it is the spirit of an admirable intention.  The only problem is no one really seems to know exactly what it means.

“To the finish”, in its broadest sense, is some mythological-technological future in which logic circuits have shrunk to such an extent that individual components are measured on the atomic scale.  On one level, although in nominally different research fields, this is comparable to the “intelligent dust” predictions of the most enthusiastic Internet of Things proponents. Continue reading