Arm posted a new article to its Arm Blueprint blog, making claims that the computing paradigm is changing as we know it. More specifically, the company is calling performance per watt the replacement for Moore's Law as the driving goal for design. Arm's Rob Aitken, Fellow & Director of Technology, has written a post giving a retrospective look at the industry and where it is going.
Starting from the early beginning, we have seen a massive increase in one area: transistor density. According to an observation, called Moore's Law, that transistor count doubles every two years, we are seeing continued improvement in the performance of our devices. That was a true observation, until the past few years where we hit a roadblock.
Semiconductor processes can only get so small, however, as we approach atom sizes, it is almost impossible to build new nodes that small. There is some better analysis which estimates just how far we can go, however, that is not the point that Arm is making with its new post.
The company is suggesting that as we are at the breaking point, where modern design, or perhaps new IP that is currently being developed, is taking an important factor into the creative process. And that is computational efficiency and performance per watt.
According to Arm, performance per watt is "a new paradigm" that will take over, as more modern designs are considering computational efficiency as one of the primary factors for further improvement. As designs get bigger and more complex, they can get highly inefficient. To get better designs, engineers must target a certain performance point, while using as little power as possible.
"The optimization of workloads to capitalize on ultra-low-power processing is also gaining traction through movements such as TinyML, which centers on the optimization of machine learning (ML) workloads, enabling them to run on just milliwatts of power," says Rob Aitken, continuing that "Performance per watt must become the new paradigm, guiding product roadmaps that extract an increasing amount of performance from an ever-decreasing power envelope."
For more words about the case for making performance per watt a new paradigm, head over to Arm's blog post and explore the cases for the new approach. It shows where is the semiconductor industry headed, and exactly how it is transforming.