SANTA CLARA: INTEL CELEBRATED 50 years of Moore's Law this year, so it's no wonder that the long-standing chip company has plenty of history to show off in the form of a museum.
Located at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara, California - a place better known as Silicon Valley - the Intel Museum boasts relics and artefacts that tell the story of Intel as a technology innovator and chip maker, as well as the semiconductor industry in general.
We were taken on a tour as part of our attendance at the Intel Developer Forum this year, so we thought we'd share with you what's going on inside.
Most tech company headquarters we've been to in the past have been rather disappointing, proving to be little more than rooms we weren't allowed to enter, but Intel's headquarters are a little different, especially the entrance, which is impressive in its own right. There is a large-scale 3D company logo proudly standing before the entrance, which you couldn't miss if you tried.
The museum itself is inside the headquarters. It was started in the early 1980s as an internal project to record the company's history and opened to the public in 1992, being expanded in 1999 to three times its size and with the inclusion of a gift shop, which we can tell you is not the highlight of the tour.
Nevertheless, the museum houses exhibits explaining how semiconductor chip technology came about, and who helped to push the firm's technologies forward, in the form of exhibits and a grade-school educational programme.
The first area is made up of early photos of Intel's founding members, including Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, and the work these people undertook to bring microprocessing technology to fruition.
These are joined by interactive displays and relics from a bygone time to show exactly what Intel was creating at that time. One of these was a scaled-up early mock microprocessor, (below) showing the hundreds of tiny transistors inside, in just a segment of the entire chip.
The museum was revamped in 2011 with a number of interactive exhibits featuring 2D and 3D interfaces that took a year to complete and ranged from highlights of Intel's history to illustrations of Moore's Law.
That means there are plenty of fun and interactive aspects for adults and children, including games and chances to dress up.
Our favourite was probably the nanosecond calculator, which illustrates just how short a nanosecond is by recording how quickly you can swipe your hand across two sensors, and giving you a score. The fastest on record is apparently seven million nanoseconds (held by a seven-year-old) so you get an idea of just how fast data travels through an integrated circuit.
There is also a very detailed display representing the step-by-step methods Intel uses to create chips, as well as how wafers are made, and where they come from.
Another interesting model shows the multi-level layout and set-up of the fabrication plants at which the chips are created.
You can even try on a bunny suit, as we did ...
As you'd expect, Moore's Law features heavily throughout the museum, with a number of exhibits dedicated to how it has progressed and remained relevant in its 50 years of existence.
Moore's Law has long been claimed as responsible for most of the advances in the digital age, from personal computers to supercomputers, despite Intel admitting in the past that it wasn't enough. Named after Gordon Moore, Moore's Law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double approximately every two years.
The museum explains how Moore wrote a paper in 1965 describing a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit. He revised the forecast in 1975, doubling the time to two years, and his prediction has proved accurate.
The museum aims to inform visitors how this law is used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and set targets for research and development. Many digital electronic devices and manufacturing developments, for example, are strongly linked to Moore's Law, whether it's microprocessor prices, memory capacity or sensors, all improving at roughly the same rate.
The museum is open weekdays and Saturdays except public holidays, and admission is free if you fancy popping in when you're in the 'hood. µ
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