MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The party’s not over yet, but it’s getting time we start thinking about calling a cab. That’s Henry Samueli’s view of the semiconductor industry in a nutshell.
The chief technology officer of Broadcom Corp. was shockingly frank in an on-stage interview at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ethernet.
“Moore’s Law is coming to an end—in the next decade it will pretty much come to an end so we have 15 years or so,” Samueli told several dozen Silicon Valley technology veterans. “Standard CMOS silicon transistors will stop scaling around 5 nm and everything will plateau,” he said.
“I am comfortable we will get to terabit networking speeds, but I’m not sure I see a path to petabit speeds,” said the co-founder of one of the world’s largest communications chip companies. “You will see density of network switch boards leveling off and when you see the network progress level off it will change the dynamics of the entire industry,” he said.
“We still have another 15 years or so to enjoy, but we need to prepare at some point for a network that doesn’t double in bandwidth every two years,” he added.
Samueli spoke out on a panel with execs from Arista, Brocade and HP.
Plenty of pundits have predicted the end of CMOS scaling before, but rarely veteran executives of well established chip vendors with deep technical understanding. Before co-founding Broadcom in 1991, Samueli was a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA, specializing in communications chips.
The end of CMOS scaling “has been one of my biggest concerns for some time,” Samueli told EE Times after participating in a panel discussion. “We’ve been talking to customers about this for awhile,” he said.