Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore Dies at 94
Intel co-founder and semiconductor pioneer Gordon Moore died Friday at the age of 94. His philanthropic foundation said he died peacefully surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii.
Celebrated for his prediction, known as Moore’s Law, that transistor density would double with each new generation of technology, Moore had an outsize impact on the computing and semiconductor world. As Reuters notes, Intel, which he helped found in 1968, would go on to put “Intel Inside” processors in more than 80% of the world’s personal computers.
In an article for the 35th anniversary issue of Electronics Magazine, dated April 19, 1965, Moore predicted that the number of transistors per chip would continue to double every year, continuing a trend that he had noticed since 1959. In 1975, Moore updated his prediction for transistors per chip to double every two years.
Moore’s Law spurred Intel and other chipmakers to aggressively fund research and development to ensure that this goal was met. In 1971, Intel’s first commercially produced microprocessor had 2,250 transistors. By 2005, 40 years after his initial prediction, 1.7 billion silicon transistors were being put on one Intel chip.
Apple M2 Max chip, released in January this year, contains 67 billion transistors. In December, Intel said that in keeping with Moore’s Law, there will be one trillion transistors on chips by 2030.
In that 1965 article, Moore predicted that “integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers, automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment.” In a 2008 interview, Moore said: “All I was trying to do was get that message across, that by putting more and more stuff on a chip we were going to make all electronics cheaper.”
After earning his PhD in chemistry at CalTech in 1954, Moore conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University until 1956. Before co-founding Intel, he joined the Fairchild Semiconductor Laboratory, which built commercially viable transistors and integrated circuits.
He founded Intel with his longtime colleague Robert Noyce in July 1968. Moore served as executive vice president until 1975, when he became president. In 1979, Moore became chairman of Intel’s board and its CEO. Moore retired from the company in 2006.
In 2000, he established a philanthropic foundation with his wife Betty that has since donated more than $5.1 billion to charity.
Intel’s current CEO Pat Gelsinger said of his passing: “As stewards of his law, Intel will work relentlessly to exponentially outdo what he & Robert Noyce set out to do. He leaves behind a legacy that changed the lives of every person on the planet. His memory will live on.”
He added: “I am humbled to have known him.”
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