For decades, computers have got smaller and more powerful, enabling huge scientific progress. But this can’t go on for ever - in fact the consensus among Silicon Valley’s experts is that Moore’s law is near its end. The Guardian newspaper explores what happens next
Modern computers mount their memory several centimetres from their processors. At silicon speeds a centimetre is a long way, meaning significant delays whenever new data need to be fetched. A 3D chip could eliminate that bottleneck by sandwiching layers of processing logic between layers of memory. IBM reckons that 3D chips could allow designers to shrink a supercomputer that currently fills a building to something the size of a shoebox.