The Future of Microprocessors

The performance of microprocessors that power modern computers has continued
to increase exponentially over the years for two main reasons. First, the transistors
that are the heart of the circuits in all processors and memory chips have
simply become faster over time on a course described by Moore’s law,1
and this directly affects the performance of processors built with those transistors.
Moreover, actual processor performance has increased faster than Moore’s
law would predict,2 because processor designers have been able to harness the
increasing numbers of transistors available on modern chips to extract more
parallelism from software. This is depicted in figure 1 for Intel’s processors.