Intel co-founder and philanthropist Gordon Moore dies at 94

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel Corp. who set the breakneck pace of progress in the digital age with a simple 1965 prediction of how quickly engineers would increase the capacity of computer chips, has died. He was 94 years old.

Moore died Friday at his home in Hawaii, according to Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Moore, Ph.D. in chemistry and physics, made his famous observation – now known as “Moore’s Law” – three years before he helped start Intel in 1968. It was among a number of articles about the future written for the now defunct Electronics magazine by experts in various fields. the fields.

The prediction, which Moore said he plotted on graph paper based on what was happening with chips at the time, indicated that the capacity and complexity of integrated circuits would double every year.

Strictly speaking, Moore’s observation referred to the doubling of transistors on a semiconductor. But over the years it has been applied to hard drives, computer monitors and other electronic devices, estimating that approximately every 18 months a new generation of products renders their predecessors obsolete.

It has become a standard for technology industry progress and innovation.

“It’s the human spirit. That’s what made Silicon Valley,” said Carver Mead, a retired California Institute of Technology computer scientist who coined the term “Moore’s Law” in the early 1970s, in 2005. “C is the real thing.

Moore later became known for his philanthropy when he and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which focuses on environmental conservation, science, patient care and projects in the Bay Area. from San Francisco. It has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes since its founding in 2000.

“Those of us who met and worked with Gordon will forever be inspired by his wisdom, humility and generosity,” foundation president Harvey Fineberg said in a statement.

Intel Chairman Frank Yeary called Moore a brilliant scientist and a top American entrepreneur.

“It is impossible to imagine the world we live in today, with computing so essential to our lives, without the contributions of Gordon Moore,” he said.

In his book “Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet Revolutionary”, author David Brock called him “the most important thinker and doer in the history of silicon electronics”.

Moore was born in San Francisco on January 3, 1929, and grew up in the nearby coastal town of Pescadero. As a child, he took a liking to chemistry kits. He attended San Jose State University, then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in chemistry.

After earning his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1954, he worked briefly as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

His entry into microchips began when he went to work for William Shockley, who in 1956 shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work inventing the transistor. Less than two years later, Moore and seven colleagues left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory after growing tired of its namesake’s management practices.

The defection of the “treacherous eight,” as the group came to be called, planted the seeds of a renegade Silicon Valley culture, in which engineers who disagreed with their colleagues did not hesitate to become competitors.

The Shockley defectors in 1957 created Fairchild Semiconductor, which became one of the first companies to manufacture the integrated circuit, a refinement of the transistor.

Fairchild provided the chips that went into the first computers that astronauts used aboard spacecraft.

In 1968, Moore and Robert Noyce, one of eight engineers who left Shockley, struck out on their own again. With $500,000 of their own money and the backing of venture capitalist Arthur Rock, they founded Intel, a name based on the combination of the words “embedded” and “electronics.”

Moore became Intel’s CEO in 1975. His tenure as CEO ended in 1987, with the belief that he remained chairman for another 10 years. He served as President Emeritus from 1997 to 2006.

He received the National Medal of Technology from President George HW Bush in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2002.

Despite his wealth and fame, Moore remained known for his modesty. In 2005, he called Moore’s Law “a fluke that got far more publicity than it deserved.”

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty, his sons Kenneth and Steven, and four grandchildren.


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