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Nobel Laureate Robert Solow concluded that 85% of America’s productivity growth comes from innovation. But how can we characterize this innovation? One way we can characterize this innovation is through the improvements in cost and performance that technologies experience over time since many innovations are required for these improvements to occur. These slides investigate the rates of improvement for 33 different technologies and 52 dimensions of performance/cost and conclude that the drivers of these improvements can be placed in two categories: 1) creating materials (and their associated processes) that better exploit physical phenomena; and 2) geometrical scaling. For geometric scaling, some technologies experience improvements through increases in scale while a small number of technologies experience them through reductions in scale.
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