Intel co-founder and Silicon Valley key figure Gordon Moore dies

Gordon Moore, one of the founders of US chip maker Intel and a central figure in Silicon Valley’s history, has died at the age of 94.

Moore’s early perception that the cost of electronics would come down, making digital technology a part of everyday life, made his name a tagline for rapid growth. and the seemingly unshakable of the semiconductor sector and with it the broader tech industry.

One of three executives who shaped and led the chipmaker in its first three decades, he is a key figure in a company often credited with “bringing silicon into Silicon Valley.” , and helped shape the business management style that has done much to shape the culture of modern American technology.

In 1965, six years after the invention of the transistor, Moore predicted in a magazine article that the number of transistors and other components on a chip would double every year for the next decade. The prediction, dubbed Moore’s Law by a colleague at Intel, has been a testament to the explosion of technological progress since then.

“I wanted to predict that this would be a way to produce low-cost electronics, which was not generally acknowledged at the time,” he later said. His prediction that the number of transistors on a chip would skyrocket from 60 to 60,000 in the next 10 years – “a pretty wild extrapolation” but turned out to be “ridiculously accurate”, he said. .

He and others at Intel have described Moore’s Law as a powerful driving force, like an observation of the exponential advances likely to come from miniaturization in electronics.

It is credited with helping the company’s engineers maintain a constant pace of process improvement, making Intel a world leader in chip manufacturing for decades, until This company recently lost its position to TSMC and Samsung.

Born in San Francisco in 1929, Moore earned a doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology before moving to the East Coast to work at Johns Hopkins University. Within two years, he returned to California after being hired by William Shockley, one of three people who would later be awarded the Nobel Prize for the invention of the transistor.

Shockley’s overbearing management style quickly alienated the brilliant young engineers he had assembled. In 1957, Moore was part of a group that quit to start a new business, Fairchild Semiconductor, as a division of a larger company.

Known as the Betrayal Eight, their defection sets them apart as role models for a new generation of young company founders with the ambition and drive to establish an industry focused on electricity. death. Moore and Robert Noyce, another co-founder, later resented being forced to follow instructions from headquarters and in 1968 quit to start their own company, Intel.

The humble Moore created a less powerful character than the other executives who shaped the chipmaker in its early decades.

His charismatic co-founder, Noyce, served as chief executive officer when Intel made its mark as a memory chip maker. Andy Grove, who was hired early and later ran the company, known for his hard-driving style proved an asset when Intel was forced to abandon the memory chip market in the face of fierce competition from Japan and repositioned itself as the manufacturer of computer microprocessors.

Moore himself adopted a softer style, although he played a key role on Intel’s board for many years, first as executive vice president and president before serving as CEO since then. 1979 to 1987. He continued to serve as president for another decade and then as honorary president until 2006.

Moore spent the last years of his life — along with a large portion of his Intel fortune — to philanthropy, after founding the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with his wife. The organization has donated $5.1 billion since its founding in 2000 and supports causes including scientific discovery, environmental conservation, advances in patient care, and conservation in the United States. San Francisco Bay Area.

Moore revised his famous prediction in 1975 to predict that the number of transistors would double every two years. The increasingly difficult challenge of producing chips with increasingly smaller feature sizes has also led to frequent predictions of the “death of Moore’s law”.

Moore himself said he thinks that point will be reached long before miniaturization reaches its current stage, with features on today’s most advanced chips only a few atoms wide.

But even as Intel and the rest of the industry face tough challenges, the combined advances from the chip industry’s first half-century have had a profound impact. One of Intel’s newest chips has more than 100 billion transistors, about 43 million more than the company’s first processor, developed in 1971.

Moore left behind his wife, Betty, sons Kenneth and Steven, and four grandchildren.

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