The news that GlobalFoundries has ceased work on its 7nm process node has prompted me to rewrite Monty Python’s remarkably appropriate Dead Parrot/Pet Shoppe sketch:
The CEO of Big Chip, Inc. enters the small offices of the ITRS (the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors), a mythological organization that no longer exists.
CEO: Hello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The ITRS agent does not respond at first, then slowly looks up.)
ITRS: We’re closed.
CEO: Never mind that. I wish to complain about this International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors that you used to publish.
ITRS: Oh yes, the, uh, What’s wrong with it?
CEO: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my man. Moore’s Law is dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!
ITRS: No, no, it’s uh… just resting.
CEO: Look, matey, I know a dead Moore’s Law when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.
ITRS: No, no. It’s not dead! It’s, it’s just restin’! Remarkable piece of work, Moore’s Law. Wonderful predictive power!
CEO: The predictive power don’t enter into it any more (Moore?). Moore’s Law is stone dead.
ITRS: Nononono, no, no! It’s resting!
CEO: All right then, if it’s restin’, what’s going to wake it up?
(shouting at the roadmap)
‘Ello, Mister ITRS! I’ve got a lovely carbon nanotube for you if you… (ITRS officer hits the roadmap)
ITRS: There, it moved!
CEO: No, it didn’t. You hit it!
ITRS: I never!!
CEO: Yes, you did!
ITRS: I never, never did anything…
CEO: (yelling and hitting the roadmap repeatedly) ‘ELLO ROADMAP!!!!!
Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!
(Picks up the ITRS document and thumps it on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches the pages flutter to the floor.)
CEO: Now that’s what I call a dead roadmap.
ITRS: No, no…..No, it’s stunned!
ITRS: Yeah! You stunned it, just as it was wakin’ up! EUV’s gonna save the day! Maybe spintronics!
CEO: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. Moore’s Law and that roadmap are definitely deceased. When you last published it, you assured me and the entire semiconductor industry that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged half-century run down the process nodes.
ITRS: Well, it’s…it’s, ah…probably pining for cobalt.
CEO: PININ’ for COBALT?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?
ITRS: The roadmap thrives on introducing new, exotic elements into the fab! Remember copper? Germanium? Halfnium? Remarkable, id’nit, squire? Lovely how we’ve introduced nearly half the periodic table into the fab at this point! It always works. Carbon for sure.
CEO: Look, I took the liberty of examining that roadmap when I got it home. I discovered the only reason that it had been working in the first place was that every company in the industry was dedicated to making Moore’s Law a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, they’re dropping like flies. GlobalFoundries is just the latest to pull out of the race. It’s just too expensive to continue the race.
ITRS: Well, o’course the field’s getting smaller! We said quite clearly in 2015 that CMOS might stop working below 10nm. But the guys who are still working on it, they’re going to go “voom.”
CEO: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this roadmap wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! Moore’s Law is bleedin’ demised!
ITRS: No no! It’s pining!
CEO: It’s not pinin’! It’s passed on! Moore’s Law is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker!
Moore’s Law is a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It’s pushing up the daisies!
It’s metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig!
It’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!
THIS IS AN EX-ROADMAP!!
ITRS: Well, told you so, then. In 2015.