“The Happiest Place on Earth” was a lightening rod for some of the world’s most celebrated engineering minds this week.
While Disneyland may seem an odd choice for a gathering of nearly 3,000 electrical engineers, Broadcom cofounder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Henry Samueli had no problem convincing the elite group of the real “magic” in the amazing advances in communications technology over the past two decades.
His keynote speech on Tuesday, which opened the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Global Communications Conference this week in Anaheim, drew upon his lifelong dream of “connecting everything.”
“Chip integration is the key innovation for driving the connected world,” Samueli said.
He talked about the incredible transformation the microprocessor has undergone throughout his career and the exponential improvements in speed, power and design that have come along with it.
To put the growth into perspective: Both the first Internet message and the moonwalk occurred in 1969. While there aren’t yet any hotels on the moon, there are more connected mobile devices in use today than there are people on the planet, he said.
By 2016, the amount of Internet data accessed via phones will surpass that of desktops, and the total annual data usage rate will exceed a zetabyte annually – that’s 40 terabytes a second, Samueli said.
This exponential increase has been predicted for 40 years by Moore’s Law – a principle in which Samueli is considered an expert.
Samueli pondered what the industry looks like beyond the limits of Moore’s Law. He envisions a future where all of the connected devices in the home work together. Some might monitory your heart rate, and another could send your vitals directly to a health care professional.
“Ubiquitous integration of low power sensors is the next frontier of communication technology,” he said.
For thinkers like Samueli, and the rest of the distinguished IEEE members that gathered at the Global Communications Conference this week, an always-connected, digital life is just one of the ways in which the story of technology unfolds. For them the future is limited only by their imaginations, and perhaps the size of an atom of silicon.
- Broadcom’s Samueli: How the End of Moore’s Law Impacts the Future of Chip Design
- Orange County Register: Communications tech conference kicks off in Anaheim
- Front-page profile story on Henry Samueli in the Orange County Register
- Interview: Broadcom’s Henry Samueli on the Jr. High Science Project That Started It All
- Marconi Society Symposium to Feature Tech Pioneers, Honor Top Prize Winner Samueli