One of the extraordinary features of the microelectronics revolution is its ability to scale, a featured captured by Moore’s Law. That has led to a rapid and massive increase in computing capacity—today’s top-of-the-range smartphones have the computing power equivalent to the world’s most powerful supercomputers from the early 1990s. Tomorrow’s smartphones will be even more powerful.
But there is a problem in the offing. As powerful computers become more widespread, the amount of power they consume will increase. If Moore’s exponential law continues, electronic devices will consume more than half the planet’s energy budget within a couple of decades.
That’s clearly unsustainable. So what to do?
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