Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the semiconductor industry whose “Moore’s Law” predicted a steady rise in computing power for decades, has died at the age of 94, the company announced.
Intel and Moore’s family philanthropic foundation said he died surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii.
Co-launching Intel in 1968, Moore was the rolled-up-sleeves engineer within a triumvirate of technology luminaries that eventually put “Intel Inside” processors in more than 80 per cent of the world’s personal computers.
In an article he wrote in 1965, Moore observed that, thanks to improvements in technology, the number of transistors on microchips had roughly doubled every year since integrated circuits were invented a few years before.
His prediction that the trend would continue became known as “Moore’s Law” and, later amended to every two years, it helped push Intel and rival chipmakers to aggressively target their research and development resources to make sure that rule of thumb came true.
“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,” Moore wrote in his paper, two decades before the PC revolution and more than 40 years before Apple launched the iPhone.
After Moore’s article, chips became more efficient and less expensive at an exponential rate, helping drive much of the world’s technological progress for half a century and allowing the advent of not just personal computers, but the Internet and Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Facebook and Google.
“It sure is nice to be at the right place at the right time,” Moore said in an interview around 2005. “I was very fortunate to get into the semiconductor industry in its infancy. And I had an opportunity to grow from the time where we couldn’t make a single silicon transistor to the time where we put 1.7 billion of them on one chip! It’s been a phenomenal ride.”