Everyone has heard of Moore's Law, but this article from c|net goes into much greater detail and how it has impacted the computer industry. Worth a read.
Year in, year out, Intel executive Mike Mayberry hears the same doomsday prediction: Moore's Law is going to run out of steam. Sometimes he even hears it from his own co-workers.
But Moore's Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who 47 years ago predicted a steady, two-year cadence of chip improvements, keeps defying the pessimists because a brigade of materials scientists like Mayberry continue to find ways of stretching today's silicon transistor technology even as they dig into alternatives. (Such as, for instance, super-thin sheets of carbon graphene.)
Oh, and don't forget the money that's driving that hunt for improvement. IDC predicts chip sales will rise from $315 billion this year to $380 billion in 2016. For decades, that revenue has successfully drawn semiconductor research out of academia, through factories, and into chips that have powered everything from a 1960s mainframe to a 2012 iPhone 5.