Chipmakers look past Moore's law, and silicon

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Science  27 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6400, pp. 321
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6400.321

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Silicon computer chips have been growing more powerful with every passing generation. But the pace of innovation is slowing. Today, chip speeds are stuck in place, and the gains in energy efficiency brought by miniaturization are declining. This comes at a time when the cost of designing new chips has skyrocketed. That's driving out many of the small firms that used to drive new innovations forward. In a move to counter these trends, this week the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a new round of grants to academic and company researchers that aims to reinvigorate the chip industry with basic research into new designs and materials, such as carbon nanotubes. Called the Electronics Resurgence Initiative, the DARPA program is expected to grow to $300 million per year up to a total of $1.5 billion over 5 years.