Obituary: Gordon Moore of Moore’s law dies at 94

Obituary: Gordon Moore of Moore’s law dies at 94

Gordon Moore BW.jpg

Moore’s law, which has accurately described the growing power of electronics for 57 years, has reached its conclusion with the death of its author.

Gordon Moore (pictured), who outlined Moore’s law in 1965 –the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year – died on Friday at the age of 94.

He founded Intel in July 1968 with Robert Noyce, who died in 1990, and they hired Andy Grove to create what people called the Intel trinity.

Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said, “Gordon Moore defined the technology industry through his insight and vision. He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors, and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs across the decades.”

In Moore’s 1965 article, published in Electronics magazine, he wrote: “Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers or at least terminals connected to a central computer, automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment. The electronic wristwatch needs only a display to be feasible today.” (PDF here.)

He was then Fairchild Semiconductor’s director of its research and development laboratories.

At the heart of what became Moore’s law was this observation: “The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year. Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000.”

With a few tweaks, Moore’s law has applied, not for 10 years, but for almost 60 years, though the restraints of physics have continually made scientists wonder how long it will go on.

In 1979, Moore was named chairman of the board of Intel and CEO, posts he held until 1987, when he gave up the CEO position and continued as chairman. In 1997, Moore became chairman emeritus, stepping down in 2006.

He established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes since its founding in 2000. His wife Betty survives him.

Intel’s obituary is here.

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