Software Progress Beats Moore’s Law

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

NY Times, 3/7/11

One of the old jokes in computing is that what the hardware giveth, the software taketh away.

The biblical vernacular is meant to convey the commandmentlike certainty of a set order of things. And the implication of the old saw is that chip-based progress is torrid and the engine of computing innovation, while the messy, unpredictable process of humans writing code is the laggard — the caboose of the innovation train.

In reporting a Sunday Week in Review piece, I was pointed to research that sharply contradicts the conventional wisdom. It did not find its way into the more general article, but the research was intriguing, I thought, and its implication not widely appreciated.

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