Gordon Moore, a pioneer of the semiconductor industry and cofounder of Intel, has passed away at the age of 94. He was known for formulating Moore’s Law in 1965, which predicted that the number of components on a chip would double every couple of years or so. This prediction has held up remarkably well for about 58 years. Moore initially served as executive vice president of Intel until 1975, when he became president. In 1979, Moore was named chairman of the board and chief executive officer, posts he held until 1987, when he gave up the CEO position and continued as chairman until 2006. Moore was also known for his philanthropy, particularly in environmental conservation, science, and patient care improvements.
Moore’s Law worked like a metronome for Silicon Valley, defining and codifying the pace of modern life. He made his famous prediction in the April 19 issue of Electronics magazine back in 1965. While many experts are doubting that we can stay on the path of Moore’s Law, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said that Moore’s Law was alive and well. In 2022, Intel announced that its researchers foresee a way to make chips 10 times more dense through packaging improvements and a layer of a material that is just three atoms thick. And that could pave the way to putting a trillion transistors on a chip package by 2030.
Moore was known as one of Silicon Valley’s greatest thought leaders and regularly came out to be a beacon for younger leaders of Silicon Valley. He noted at one point that the number of transistors built by the chip industry had just about surpassed the number of ants in the world. Such calculations were an inspiration for engineers around the world. And they communicated the scale of the electronics revolution. Many predicted that the industry would hit a standstill on progress decades ago, but Moore’s Law has held up remarkably well for 58 years.
While Moore’s Law won’t last forever, it will work for five or ten years if you apply good engineering. He said he hoped the industry wouldn’t hit a dead end. In 2015, Friedman noted that 47% of jobs could be wiped out by automated technology such as artificial intelligence. Moore said, “Don’t blame me for any of that.”
Intel announced that its researchers foresee a way to make chips 10 times more dense through packaging improvements and a layer of a material that is just three atoms thick. And that could pave the way to putting a trillion transistors on a chip package by 2030. Congress also passed the Chip and Science Act in 2022, which sets aside tens of billions of dollars for investment in chip factories in the U.S. in an attempt to bring them back from foreign shores.
Moore was a giant in the semiconductor and computer world and leaves behind an amazing legacy. “Those of us who knew and had the privilege of working with Gordon have lost a mentor, a friend, and a true legend,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.