Lecture 1 – Breaking the speed limit

Inside every computer, mobile phone and games console is one of the most complex pieces of engineering ever created - the microprocessor.

The microprocessor is a complex machine, made from millions of tiny switches called transistors. Over time we've been able to reduce the scale of these microprocessors, fitting billions of transistors onto a space the size of a postage stamp. This has also allowed us to not only reduce the production cost of these units, but more importantly increase their speed – paving the way for the computer revolution. As a result, the exponential rise in computing power in the last 30 years has been staggering.

In his first Christmas Lecture, Chris Bishop explains the challenges that are making it harder to continue the incredible improvement in speed, and reveals the ideas that are being explored to overcome them.

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Copyright

© Royal Institution & Channel 5

Year

2008

Lecturer

Chris Bishop

Duration

37:10

All lectures in the series