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Chapter 5

Moores Law: Fast, Cheap Computing and What It Means for the Manager
True/False Questions
1. Moores Law originally stated that chip performance per dollar doubles every twenty-four months.
True; Moderate
2. Flash memory is slower than conventional random access memory.
True; Easy
3. Random access memory is an example of nonvolatile memory.
False; Easy
4. Moores Law is applicable to all types of technology components.
False; Easy
5. Moores Law has been in force over all the five waves of computing.
False; Moderate
6. Moores Law has impacted the camera industry such that Nokia is the largest seller of cameras
worldwide.
True; Easy
7. In 1995, the largest corporate database was one terabyte in size.
False; Easy
8. If a product has a significant chip-based component, the value of the chips inside that product greatly
appreciate with time.
False; Easy
9. Moores Law is possible because the distance between the pathways inside silicon chips gets smaller
with each successive generation.
True; Moderate
10. The shrinking of the pathways inside silicon chips, that enables Moores Law, is an indefinite process.
False; Easy
11. Multicore processors can run older software written for single-core chips.
True; Easy
12. Writing software code for single-core systems is much easier than doing so for multicore systems.
True; Easy
13. Grid computing, though faster and more efficient, is an expensive alternative to supercomputers.
False; Easy
14. Individual users can join up grid computing networks and participate in diverse projects.
True; Easy

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15. The multicore approach is best suited for problems of a linear nature.
False; Easy
16. A personal computer has an expected lifetime of three to five years.
True; Easy
17. Electronic waste is expected to decrease with the rise of living standards worldwide.
False; Moderate
18. Electronic waste is valuable because it contains small bits of metals such as silver, platinum, and
gold.
True; Easy
19. The process of separating out the densely packed materials inside tech products so that the value in ewaste can be effectively harvested is extremely skill intensive.
False; Easy
20. China has banned the importing of e-waste within its borders since 2000.
True; Easy
21. E-waste management is extraordinarily difficult to monitor and track, and loopholes are rampant.
True; Easy
22. Apple has been a pioneer of reduced-sized packaging that leverage recyclable materials.
True; Easy
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Moores Law states that:
a. magnetic disk areal storage density doubles annually.
b. the cost per unit of useful light emitted by an LED falls by a factor of 10 every decade.
c. the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of
connected users of the system.
d. chip performance per dollar doubles every eighteen months.
e. the cost of a semiconductor chip fabrication plant doubles every four years.
d; Easy
2. Which of the following is a rephrasing of Moores Law?
a. The amount of data that can be transmitted over an optical fiber line doubles every twelve
months.
b. In eighteen months, chips as fast as todays models should be available for half the price.
c. The data storage capabilities of nonvolatile memory devices double every nine months.
d. Todays semiconductor fabrication plants will depreciate in value by more than 50 percent in four
years.
e. Magnetic disk areal storage density doubles and the corresponding price halves annually.
b; Moderate
3. The _____ is the part of the computer that executes the instructions of a computer program.
a. software
b. central processing unit

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c. arithmetic and logic unit


d. random access memory
e. microprocessor
e; Easy
4. Storage that is wiped clean when power is cut off from a device is known as:
a. flash memory.
b. read only memory.
c. holographic memory.
d. volatile memory.
e. racetrack memory.
d; Easy
5. Complete the analogy: Volatile memory- _____; Nonvolatile memory- Hard disk storage
a. RAM
b. Flash memory
c. Optical disk
d. Nanodrive
e. Read only memory
a; Easy
6. _____ is a nonvolatile, chip-based storage, often used in mobile phones, cameras, and MP3 players.
a. Random access memory
b. Cache memory
c. Optical storage
d. Holographic memory
e. Flash memory
e; Easy
7. Solid state components are less likely to fail because:
a. they are driven by precise sets of software instructions.
b. they have the capability to both enable and inhibit electricity flow.
c. they have no moving parts.
d. they are composed of germanium instead of silicon.
e. they contain storage that retains data even when powered down.
c; Easy
8. One of the advantages of solid state electronics is that:
a. they consume less power.
b. their value appreciates over time.
c. the presence of a high number of moving parts results in greater capacities.
d. when used as hard disks, they can retain data even if power is switched off.
e. they can be used to store large amounts of data at extremely low costs.
a; Easy
9. _____ are substances that are capable of enabling as well as inhibiting the flow of electricity.
a. Insulators
b. Semiconductors
c. Resistors
d. Inductors
e. Conductors

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b; Easy
10. Price elasticity refers to:
a. the change in the demand for a good in response to a change in income.
b. the rate at which product prices vary in response to changes in customer demand.
c. the range of production costs that change as a direct function of the availability of raw materials.
d. the rate at which demand for a product or service fluctuates with price change.
e. the numerical measure of the responsiveness of the supply of a product to a change in its
production cost.
d; Moderate
11. One of the implications of the price elasticity of technology products is that:
a. the cost of a semiconductor chip fabrication plant doubles every four years.
b. magnetic disk areal storage density doubles annually.
c. customers buy more products as they become cheaper.
d. the value of chips in semiconductor-based devices appreciates every six months.
e. firms stock up on tech products and sell them once their prices increase.
c; Easy
12. The third wave of computing was characterized by the introduction of:
a. personal computers.
b. mainframe computers.
c. minicomputers.
d. Internet computing.
e. laptops.
a; Easy
13. Moores Law has been in effect since the _____ wave of computing.
a. third
b. first
c. fifth
d. fourth
e. second
e; Easy
14. Sony, a firm once synonymous with portable music, has ceded its market dominance to Apple
because:
a. it did not offer an online music store model to rival Apples iTunes effort.
b. its technology offerings were too futuristic and out of sync with the waves of computing to appeal
to customers.
c. it failed to adapt to the changes in the electronics industry as predicted by Moores Law.
d. its music players contradicted the price/performance phenomenon predicted by Moores Law.
e. it attempted to straddle the twin markets of online music retail and electronic music players, and
could not capitalize on either.
c; Moderate
15. Complete the analogy: One kilobyte: One thousand bytes; One _____ byte; One billion bytes
a. tera
b. giga
c. mega
d. peta

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e. exa
b; Easy
16. Which of the following statements is a valid reason for chip manufacturers carrying minimal
inventory?
a. Rising transportation costs greatly increase the costs of manufacturing and make moving
inventory between locations highly expensive.
b. Chip manufacturers maintain low inventories to hedge the move of semiconductor technology
away from silicon-based chips.
c. The potential physical and electronic damage to silicon chips if left unused for extended periods
of time deters manufacturers from maintaining higher inventories.
d. Chip manufacturers leverage the higher costs of chip-based products to their advantage by keep
supply low to increase demand.
e. Products with a significant chip-based component rapidly fall in value, and can cause huge losses
when overproduced.
e; Moderate
17. The _____ movement is an effort that provides very small loans to the worlds poorest entrepreneurs.
a. initial public stock offering
b. microfinance
c. coopetition
d. long tail
e. price transparency
b; Easy
18. _____ refer to the multibillion dollar plants used to manufacture semiconductors.
a. Grids
b. Platforms
c. Lecterns
d. Fabs
e. Kilns
d; Easy
19. Which of the following factors is responsible for the possibility of Moores Law?
a. The distance between pathways inside silicon chips gets smaller with each successive generation.
b. Silicon is commonly available in the form of sand or silicon dioxide, which helps keep the costs
of chip production low.
c. Constant innovation in terms of silicon wafer size and the number of chips per wafer help make
Moores Law practicable.
d. The availability of better cooling technologies ensures chips can continue growing smaller and
more power efficient.
e. With the exponential growth in information technology-enabled businesses, the demand for
computers makes Moores Law possible.
a; Moderate
20. Which of the following sets of interrelated forces threatens to slow down the progression of Moores
Law?
a. Weight, speed, and capacity
b. Density, temperature, and wafer thickness
c. Size, heat, and power
d. Silicon availability, efficiency, and energy

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e. Memory, cache size, and speed


c; Easy
21. _____ is a phenomenon where electrons slide off their pathways, and presents an obstacle to the
continuance of Moores Law.
a. Dovetailing
b. Helicity
c. Oblique correction
d. Jet quenching
e. Quantum tunneling
e; Moderate
22. Multicore processors are formed by:
a. connecting identical processors in a parallel combination, and drawing power from the same
source.
b. putting two or more lower power processor cores on a single chip.
c. connecting a series of high powered processors through a single power source.
d. slicing a flat chip into pieces and reconnecting the pieces vertically.
e. connecting a combination of parallel and series-connected processors to a single larger processor
to supplement its functioning.
b; Easy
23. What problem is faced by multicore processors running older software written for single-brain chips?
a. Multicore processors usually run older software by using only one core at a time.
b. Multicore processors draw more power than single-brain processors to solve the same problem.
c. Multicore processors require greater cooling to run the same software as single-brain processors.
d. Individual cores in multicore processors have smaller memories than single-brain chips and are
consequently slower.
e. Multicore processors are tougher to design and more expensive to manufacture, as compared to
single-brain chips.
a; Easy
24. Which of the following statements about multicore processors is true?
a. Multicore processors cannot run older software written for single-brain chips.
b. Multicore processors are formed by slicing a flat chip into pieces and reconnecting the pieces
vertically.
c. Multicore processors are not suitable for solving problems that are linear in nature.
d. Writing specialized software for multicore processors is easier than writing software for singlebrain chips.
e. Multicore chips, while outperforming a single speedy chip, heat up faster and draw more power.
c; Easy
25. Semiconductors that are manufactured as a stack of multiple, interconnected layers instead of in one
flat plane are known as:
a. multiple-core semiconductors.
b. three-dimensional semiconductors.
c. single-brain semiconductors.
d. staggered grid semiconductors.
e. quadruple in-line semiconductors.
b; Easy

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26. _____ is a variation of chip design, where signals are sent via light rather than electricity.
a. Laser integration
b. Chrome chip design
c. Carbon nanotube technology
d. Optical computing
e. Photon insertion technique
d; Easy
27. Which of the following represents a key difference between quantum computing and conventional
computing?
a. Qubits can be both one and zero at the same time, unlike conventional bits.
b. Quantum computers use three-dimensional semiconductors, while conventional computers use
two-dimensional processors.
c. Conventional computers perform speedier tasks than quantum computers, but cannot handle the
same amount of data as quantum computers.
d. Quantum computers are based on transistor technology, while conventional computers are
memristor-based.
e. Quantum computers allow the computations of functions that are not theoretically computable by
conventional computers.
a; Moderate
28. The term _____ refers to computers that are among the fastest of any in the world at the time of their
introduction.
a. mainframes
b. quantum computers
c. supermini computers
d. minisuper computers
e. supercomputers
e; Easy
29. _____ is a technique in which computers are designed with many microprocessors that work together,
simultaneously, to solve problems.
a. Nanocomputing
b. Quantum computing
c. Grid computing
d. Massively parallel computing
e. Cloud computing
d; Easy
30. Grid computing is a type computing in which:
a. special software is installed on several computers enabling them to work together on a common
problem.
b. computers are designed with many microprocessors that work together, simultaneously, to solve
problems.
c. quantum properties, such as superposition and entanglement, are used to represent data and
perform operations on these data.
d. microprocessors with two or more (typically lower power) calculating processor cores are
fabricated on the same piece of silicon to solve multiple problems.
e. computer software seeks to reproduce or mimic human thought, decision making, or brain
functions.
a; Moderate

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31. Which of the following problems is least likely to be solved through grid computing?
a. Financial risk modeling
b. Gene analysis
c. Linear problems
d. Parallel problems
e. Manufacturing simulation
c; Moderate
32. E-waste is particularly difficult to address because of:
a. multiple international agencies like the Fair Factories Clearinghouse auditing contractors.
b. morals and ethics that dictate firms to put principles above profits.
c. environmental advocates being appointed to influential positions on company boards.
d. the complexity of the modern value chain.
e. the increased longevity of electronic products.
d; Moderate
33. Which of the following statements regarding the current electronic waste scenario is true?
a. Electronic waste increases with the rise of living standards worldwide.
b. The content of gold in a pound of electronic waste is lesser than that in a pound of mined ore.
c. The process of separating densely packed materials inside tech products to effectively harvest the
value in e-waste is skill intensive.
d. Sending e-waste abroad can be much more expensive than dealing with it at home.
e. E-waste trade is mostly transparent and stringent guidelines ensure that all e-waste is accounted
for.
a; Moderate
34. Based on the authors take on e-waste management, a manager would do well to learn that:
a. dealing with e-waste at home can be ten times cheaper than sending it abroad.
b. disposal and recycling partners must be audited with the same vigor as suppliers and other
partners.
c. environmentalists target only the big firms as they can afford to compensate for any
environmental damage wrought by their practices.
d. e-waste management is simple enough for firms to monitor and track through international
agencies such as Fair Factories Clearinghouse.
e. appointing environmentalists like Al Gore to the firms board of directors helps avoid legal action
and brand tarnishing due to bad e-waste management practices.
b; Moderate
Essay Questions
1. What is Moores Law? How has it impacted the electronics industry? What economic trends has it
inspired?
The phenomenon of faster, cheaper computing is often referred to as Moores Law, after Intel
cofounder, Gordon Moore. Moores paper for Electronics Magazine described how the process of
chip making enabled more powerful chips to be manufactured at cheaper prices. The popular
definition of Moores Law states that chip performance per dollar doubles every eighteen months.
Moores Law applies to chips (processors). For processors, Moores Law means that next generation
chips should be twice as fast in eighteen months, but cost the same as todays models (or from

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another perspective, in a year and a half, chips that are same speed as todays models should be
available for half the price).
Strictly speaking, Moores Law does not apply to other technology components. But other computing
components are also seeing their price versus performance curves skyrocket exponentially. Data
storage doubles every twelve months. Networking speed is on a tear, too. With an equipment change
at the ends of the cables, the amount of data that can be squirt over an optical fiber line can double
every nine months.
When technology gets cheap, price elasticity kicks in. Tech products are highly price elastic, meaning
consumers buy more products as they become cheaper. And its not just that existing customers load
up on more tech; entire new markets open up as firms find new uses for these new chips. The digital
shifts that characterize the five waves of computing can also rearrange entire industries.
Moderate
2. Give a brief description of each of the factors that is impeding the continued validity of Moores Law.
Moores Law is possible because the distance between the pathways inside silicon chips gets smaller
with each successive generation. While chip plants are incredibly expensive to build, each new
generation of fabs can crank out more chips per silicon wafer. And since the pathways are closer
together, electrons travel shorter distances. Electrons traveling half the distance to make a calculation
mean the chip is twice as fast.
Three interrelated forcessize, heat, and powerthreaten to slow down Moores Law. When
processors are made smaller, the more tightly packed electrons will heat up a chipso much so that
unless todays most powerful chips are cooled down, they will melt inside their packaging. To keep
the fastest computers cool, most PCs, laptops, and video game consoles need fans, and most corporate
data centers have elaborate and expensive air conditioning and venting systems to prevent a
meltdown. The need to cool modern data centers draws a lot of power and that costs a lot of money.
Its also important to realize that chips cannot get smaller forever. At some point Moores Law will
run into the unyielding laws of nature. While were not certain where these limits are, chip pathways
certainly cannot be shorter than a single molecule, and the actual physical limit is likely larger than
that.
Moderate
3. Name and describe the various technologies that may extend the life of Moores Law.
Multicore microprocessors: Multicore microprocessors are made by putting two or more lower power
processor cores on a single chip. For many applications, the multicore chips will outperform a single
speedy chip, while running cooler and drawing less power. Multicore processors are now mainstream
and can run older software written for single-brain chips. But they usually do this by using only one
core at a time. In order to take full advantage of multicore chips, applications need to be rewritten to
split up tasks so that smaller portions of a problem are executed simultaneously inside each core.
Stacked semiconductors: These are also called three dimensional semiconductors. In this approach,
engineers slice a flat chip into pieces, and then reconnect the pieces vertically. The chips are both
faster and cooler since electrons travel shorter distances. What was once an end-to-end trip on a
conventional chip might just be a tiny movement up or down on a stacked chip. But stacked
semiconductors are tougher to design and manufacture.
Moderate
4. Describe massively parallel and grid computing and discuss how they transform the economics of
supercomputing.
Modern supercomputing is typically done via a technique called massively parallel processing
(computers designed with many microprocessors that work together, simultaneously, to solve
problems). The fastest of these supercomputers are built using hundreds of microprocessors, all
programmed to work in unison as one big brain. While supercomputers use special electronics and

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software to handle the massive load, the processors themselves are often of the off-the-shelf variety
that is found in typical PCs. Such implementations greatly reduce the costs of computing hardware
involved in supercomputing, while offering comparable performance.
Grid computing is further transforming the economics of supercomputing. With grid computing, firms
place special software on its existing PCs or servers that enables these computers to work together on
a common problem. Large organizations may have thousands of PCs, but theyre not necessarily
being used all the time, or at full capacity. With grid software installed on them, these idle devices can
be marshaled to attack portions of a complex task as if they collectively were one massively parallel
supercomputer. While a middle-of-the-road supercomputer could run as much as thirty million
dollars, grid computing software and services to perform comparable tasks can cost as little as
twenty-five thousand dollars, assuming an organization already has PCs and servers in place.
These techniques help ring down research and development time, which means products can be
introduced in the market sooner.
Moderate
5. What is electronic waste? What are the factors that aggravate this problem?
Discarded, often obsolete technology is often referred to as electronic waste (e-waste). Rapid
obsolescence of technology products such as PCs and cell phones is a major reason for the constant
growth in the mountains of discarded tech junk. Consumer electronics and computing equipment can
be a toxic cocktail that includes cadmium, mercury, lead, and other hazardous materials. Once called
the effluent of the affluent, e-waste will only increase with the rise of living standards worldwide.
Not only does e-waste contain mainstream recyclable materials were all familiar with, like plastics
and aluminum, it also contains small bits of increasingly valuable metals such as silver, platinum, and
copper. The complexities of the modern value chain, the vagaries of international law, and the
nefarious actions of those willing to put profits above principle show how difficult addressing this
problem can be.
Moderate
6. What are the implications of e-waste management from an organizational and managerial
perspective?
Thinking deeply about the ethical consequences of a firms business is an imperative for the modern
manager. A slip up can, in seconds, be captured and broadcast to the world, exposing firms to legal
action and tarnishing a brand for years.
Managers must consider and plan for the waste created by the products, services, and technology used
by the organization. Consumers and governments are increasingly demanding that firms offer
responsible methods for the disposal of their manufactured goods and the technology used in their
operations. Managers must audit disposal and recycling partners with the same vigor as their suppliers
and other corporate partners. If not, an organizations equipment may end up in environmentally
harmful disposal operations.
Moderate
Fill in the Blanks

1. A(n) _____ is referred to as the brain of the computer.


microprocessor; Easy

2. Storage that retains data even when powered down is known as _____ memory.
nonvolatile; Easy

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3. Semiconductor-based devices are also known as _____.


solid state electronics; Easy

4. A(n) _____ is a high-speed glass or plastic-lined networking cable used in telecommunications.


optical fiber line; Easy

5. A(n) _____ refers to a massive network of computer servers running software to coordinate their
collective use and to provide a common set of services.
server farm; Easy

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