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Chipmakers seek ways around transistors' limitations

A demo is run using Hitachi's new computer.

TOKYO -- Moore's law has been a driver of the digital revolution for half a century. It refers to the relentless advance of technology, first observed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965, that has allowed chip designers to miniaturize their circuits, doubling the number of transistors on the same amount of silicon real estate every 18 months or so.

Now those transistors are so tiny they are bumping up against the physical limits of how much more they can shrink, posing a challenge for those looking to create still faster, better computer chips.

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