Integrated circuits (ICs) have a unique position in today's worldwide industry. No other product group has shown such a strong and steady increase as the semiconductor market which has grown at an average rate of approximately 15% annually over the past three and a half decades . Already in 1965 Gorden Moore, then R&D director at Fairchild Semiconductor and these days chairman emeritus of Intel Corp., Santa Clara, CA, had quantified the growth of the new technology of semiconductors . Manufacturers, he said, had been doubling the density of components per integrated circuit at regular intervals, and they would continue to do so as far as the eye could see.
The prediction was a simple extrapolation of an observation based on empirical data including the production of the first planar transistor in 1959 and only a few data points from Fairchild. Ever since the prediction has been enormously influential  and has become well known as ``Moore's Law''. Forecasts of its demise have been made throughout its existence, but have consistently been wrong.
Because of its accuracy the prediction is considered as a reliable method of calculating future trends as well as being driving force for setting the pace of innovation. In this sense it is sometimes considered a self-fulfilling prophecy, which highlights the importance of Moore's Law not only as numerical prediction itself but also as a vision for ``giving people permission to believe it could keep going'' (Carver Mead, 1992).
Nowadays it has become hard to distinguish whether progress in IC technology has driven the enormous and rapid development in consumer electronics, multimedia, mobile communications and wireless applications, communications ICs, internet and networking technologies, application specific ICs (ASICs), microprocessors, micro controllers, memory components, sensors and actuators, systems-on-chip, automotive and industrial electronics, and numerous other applications, or whether it was vice versa. Anyway, this interdependent development had, has and will have an enormous and sustained influence on our daily life.