As SHARE turns 65 and the mainframe turns 56, it’s significant that Moore’s Law has been around for 55 of those years — since 1965. Over the last five decades, the world of computing has come to rely on ever-denser and faster computing technology to mitigate the constantly increasing amount of functionality packed into a given amount of capacity and response time. We also have come to take for granted that every hardware aspect of computing followed this “law” that was assumed to suggest that the capacity and performance of computers would double every 18 to 24 months.
Of course, in its original form, Moore’s Law was much simpler. As Wikipedia tells us, Gordon Moore, who went on to co-found Intel, first observed that “the complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year. Certainly, over the short term, this rate can be expected to continue, if not increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years.”