"The number of watchmen required to watch the watchmen watching the watchmen tends to double every 18 months".  This gem is Alan Moore's law, posted years ago by some wag in response to an Intel article on geek.com.  This has, of course, surfaced because of the recent release of the Watchmen movie.  OK so I admit that I haven't read the book or even seen the movie - and based on my recent experiences of superhero movies (with the exception of the Hellboy movies, starring the very wonderful Ron Perlman) I may not bother. 

But when it comes to the "real" Moore's law - Gordon Moore, that is - I think we have all read the book, seen the movie and got the tattoo.  So I hereby pledge that I will never again begin another datasheet, article or white paper with words such as, "With design features getting smaller and smaller ... ".  With all respect to Dr. Moore, there are plenty of other interesting and less-explored angles on the manifold complexities of electronic design. 

Although we can't take Moore's law for granted, I think we can take it as read. 


Chris Clee

  • Thanks for pointing out "Alan Moore's Law" it was very good.  There is in fact a relationship between the two laws (from Howard Landman and David Patterson)

    Productivity begets quality. Automated checking begets quality.

    Patterson’s Precept: Inexperience coupled with ambition leads to very large designs.

    Landman’s Law: In any sufficiently large design, if there is a type of error for which you have no automatic way of checking, then the final design will contain at least one error of that type.

    Landman’s Lemma: All designs are now sufficiently large. See Patterson’s Precept.

    Kevin Kelly recently wrote "Was Moore's Law Inevitable?" ( www.kk.org/.../was_moores_law.php  ) a long essay about Moore's Law and a family of companion curves for magnetic medium, broadcast media bandwidth etc.. that "demonstrate the effects of scaling down, or working with the small. In this microcosmic realm energy is not very important. We don't see exponential improvement in efforts to scale up."

    I think you are missing out not at least reading the Watchmen graphic novel (all 12 issues of the comic book series gathered into a single volume). It's very well done and extremely thought provoking, it's not a traditional (superhero) comic at all.