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Moore's Law - the Failing Crutch

For a half century, Moore's Law has simplified the CIO's life. Were you pushing the limits of your batch cycle window because of insufficient computing cycles?  Upgrade your hardware and everything will run faster.  (I know there are plenty of other issues that may affect performance, but let's keep things simple.)  As long as computing loads grew in concert with processer speed everything worked great.

Moore's Law still seems to be hanging in there and the latest predications claim it will hold true at least through 2015.  As we all know, predicting the end of this cycle has had a very poor track record. 

But something has changed.  Processor clock-rates are not increasing. Instead, the number of core's on a chip is going up.  So while chips continue to increase their effective workload, your single-threaded application is not running a lot faster.  Compilers can take some advantage of more cores, but without a significant change from a simple architecture, doubling the number of transistors may only provide a 20-40% speedup.

If workloads are doubling every two years, single-threaded applications are falling behind. This is yet another reason to evaluate your portfolio in a comprehensive fashion. 

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