Geek Trivia

Rock’s Law Is An Observational Rule Of Computing That Covers?

The Density of RAM
Clock Cycle Frequency
The Cost of Semiconductor Chip Fabrication Plants
GPU Evolution
Which U.S. Government Agency's Outstanding Bill Was Paid By Radio Listeners In 2009?

Answer: The Cost of Semiconductor Chip Fabrication Plants

Perhaps the most famous “computing law”, as it were, is Moore’s Law, named after influential computer scientist and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, which states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.

Lesser known but closely related to that idea is Rock’s Law, which is not concerned with the performance of said chips, but with their cost of production. Named after Arthur Rock—a prominent investor and analyst who invested early and heavily in Intel, Apple, Scientific Data Systems, and Teledyne–Rock’s Law states that the cost of semiconductor chip fabrication plants doubles every four years. His law, like Moore’s Law, has held steady as the cost of manufacturing ever smaller chips with ever higher transistor counts is quite expensive.

Presently, the cost of opening a new semiconductor chip fabrication plant costs billions of dollars and the industry is quickly approaching the point where a cutting edge facility can run upwards of twenty billion dollars to create next-generation integrated circuits.

Image courtesy of Intel.