Microprocessors in 2020; September 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Patterson; 4 Page(s)
When I first read the table of contents of this special issue, I was struck by how many articles addressed computers in the 21st century in some way. Unlike many other technologies that fed our imaginations and then faded away, the computer has transformed our society. There can be little doubt that it will continue to do so for many decades to come. The engine driving this ongoing revolution is the microprocessor. These silicon chips have led to countless inventions, such as portable computers and fax machines, and have added intelligence to modern automobiles and wristwatches. Astonishingly, their performance has improved 25,000 times over since their invention only 25 years ago.
I have been asked to describe the microprocessor of 2020. Such predictions in my opinion tend to overstate the worth of radical, new computing technologies. Hence, I boldly predict that changes will be evolutionary in nature, and not revolutionary. Even so, if the microprocessor continues to improve at its current rate, I cannot help but suggest that 25 years from now these chips will empower revolutionary software