A pioneer of modern technological transformation, Moore helped companies bring more powerful chips to smaller computers.
Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and co-founder of Intel, once the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, has passed away at the age of 94.
Intel and Moore’s family philanthropic foundation said he died Friday surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii.
Moore was a giant of the modern era’s technological transformation, helping companies bring increasingly powerful chips to ever smaller computers. An engineer by training, he co-founded Intel in July 1968, eventually serving as president, chief executive, and chairman of the board.
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In an article he wrote in 1965, Moore noted that, thanks to improvements in technology, the number of transistors on microchips had roughly doubled every year since the invention of integrated circuits a few years earlier.
His prediction that the trend would continue became known as “Moore’s Law” and, later amended to every two years, helped push Intel and rival chipmakers to aggressively direct their research and development resources to ensure that rule of thumb came true.
“Integrated circuits will lead to miracles as home computers—or at least terminals connected to a central computer—automatic controls for automobiles and personal portable communication devices,” Moore wrote in his paper, set two decades before the personal computer revolution and more than 40 years. before Apple launched the iPhone.
Today we lost a visionary.
Gordon Moore, thanks for everything. pic.twitter.com/bAiBAtmd9K
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— Intel (@intel) March 25, 2023
After Moore’s article, chips became more efficient and cheaper at an exponential rate, fueling much of the world’s technological advancements for half a century and bringing not only personal computers to market, but also the Internet and Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Facebook and Google.
It’s nice to be in the right place at the right time,” Moore said in an interview around 2005. “I was lucky enough to get into the early stages of the semiconductor industry. And I had the opportunity to grow from the from the moment we couldn’t make a single silicon transistor to the moment we put 1.7 billion on one chip! It’s been a phenomenal ride.”
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In recent years, Intel rivals such as Nvidia Corp. have argued that Moore’s Law no longer holds as improvements in chip manufacturing have slowed.
But despite production disruptions that have caused Intel to lose market share in recent years, current CEO Pat Gelsinger has said he believes Moore’s Law still holds as the company invests billions of dollars in turnaround.
Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker, said Moore had been a close and respected friend for more than 60 years.
“With Gordon gone, almost all of my first-generation semiconductor colleagues are gone,” Chang said in a statement released via TSMC.
During his lifetime, Moore donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes through the foundation he founded with his wife of 72 years, Betty.
“While never aspiring to become a household name, Gordon’s vision and life’s work enabled the phenomenal innovation and technological advancements that shape our everyday lives,” said Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Intel leaders paid tribute to Moore.
“He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs throughout the decades,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.
“He leaves a legacy that has changed the lives of every person on the planet. His memory will live on,” Gelsinger said on Twitter.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a tweet that Moore’s vision “inspired many of us to pursue technology,” while Apple CEO Tim Cook called him “one of the founders of Silicon Valley.”
“Anyone who followed us owes him a big debt of gratitude,” Cook said on Twitter. “May he rest in peace.”