Newswise — There’s a reason each cell phone or laptop you buy is better than the last. Every couple of years, the world’s chipmakers release a new generation of processors that is denser, faster, and less power-hungry than their predecessors. And each generation is given a name, called a "node", that is supposed to reflect how small chip features can be made. But these node names no longer mean what they used to, and the steady progress of the computing industry, year after year, looks a lot different under the hood. Nowadays chipmakers must tackle daunting technical problems and make sobering compromises in order to keep up the pace.