Distinguished Lecture

The End of Moores Law: Are we Facing the Creation or the Apocalypse?

Stephen ForrestPaul G. Goebel Collegiate Professor of Engineering

For 55 years, Moore's Law of increasing the number of transistors on a chip by approximately twice every two years has led to unprecedented advances in technology never before experienced in human history. The laptop computers we use in everyday life have computational power that only a decade ago would have been considered a supercomputer. Likewise, our smart phones are amazing instruments of rapid communication, extraordinary computational power and utility that people in even the poorest parts of the planet deem essential to their very existence. Google, Facebook and other remarkable applications all owe their success to the advances in materials science that have driven this electronics revolution. And today, the scope of electronics technology is creating the "internet of things," penetrating beyond sophisticated software applications to controlling and integrating every piece of physical equipment in our environment.

At long last, Moore's Law is inevitably reaching its end. Nothing continues in an exponential fashion forever, and the same goes for the miniaturization of transistors that has led to this computational explosion. This device shrinkage is ultimately limited by physical constraints such as the size of a single atom. But Moore's Law is less an expression of simple miniaturization of an electronic device; it is a road map for the productivity of virtually all modern, electronics-based economies. So the question that will be addressed in this talk is: "Are economics more powerful than physics?" Will progress toward increasing computational power, and its myriad of uses overcome the current, apparent limits and, if so, how? And from where will these advances emerge? These are exciting times when we are unsure if we face the creation of a new era, or the end of a period of unprecedented economic and technological growth with nothing there to replace its power going forward.
Steve Forrest, Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor, is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics, and Materials Science and Engineering. He is director of the Optoelectronic Components and Materials Group. He and his group conduct research on photovoltaic cells, organic light emitting diodes, and lasers & optics. His investigations in these areas span decades, and have resulted in five startup companies, 277 issued patents, and key technologies that are pervasive in the marketplace. In addition, he has graduated 54 Ph.D. students.

In 1985, Prof. Forrest joined the Electrical Engineering and Materials Science Departments at USC. In 1992, Prof. Forrest became the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. He served as director of the National Center for Integrated Photonic Technology, and as Director of Princeton's Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials (POEM), and from 1997-2001, he chaired Princeton's Electrical Engineering Department. In 2006, he rejoined the University of Michigan as Vice President for Research, and returned to research full time in 2013.

Prof. Forrest is a Fellow of the APS, IEEE, OSA and, most recently, NAI. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received numerous distinctions throughout his career, including the IEEE/LEOS Distinguished Lecturer Award, the IPO National Distinguished Inventor Award (co-recipient), the Thomas Alva Edison Award, the MRS Medal, the IEEE/LEOS William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, the Jan Rajchman Prize from the Society for Information Display, and the 2007 IEEE Daniel Nobel Award. Prof. Forrest has been honored by Princeton University establishing the Stephen R. Forrest Endowed Faculty Chair in Electrical Engineering in 2012.

Prof. Forrest has authored ~554 papers in refereed journals, and has 280 patents, with an h-index of 124 (Thomson Reuters) / 136 (Google Scholar). In May, 2015, Prof. Forrest was named the University of Michigan Distinguished University Innovator.

He is co-founder or founding participant in several companies, including Sensors Unlimited, Epitaxx, Inc., NanoFlex Power Corp. (OTC: OPVS), Universal Display Corp. (NASDAQ: OLED) and Apogee Photonics, Inc., and is on the Board of Directors of Applied Materials and PD-LD, Inc. He has also served from 2009-2012 as Chairman of the Board of Ann Arbor SPARK, the regional economic development organization, and serves on the Board of Governors of the Technion "“ Israel Institute of Technology. He is Chairman of the Board of the University Musical Society.

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