Gordon Moore Dies Aged 94
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 26 March 2023

Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel who pioneered microprocessor technology and whose name is known for Moore's Law, passed away on March 24, 2023. The announcement of his death was made jointly by Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the philanthropic organization he founded with his wife in 2000.

Intel can be seen as the original Silicon Valley startup that became a major tech megalith has continued to keep abreast of  technological development for the past half century. Intel was founded by Gordon Moore and his longtime colleague Robert Noyce in July 1968. With Noyce at the overall helm, Moore initially served as executive vice president until 1975, when he became president. In 1979, Moore was named CEO and Chairman of the board. He relinquished the CEO position in 1987, but and continued as chairman until 1997, when he became Chairman Emeritus, finally stepping down in 2006.

With Moore as the company's "virtuoso of technology" it was Intel that brought us the first microprocessors, dubbed "computers on a chip" introducing the 4004 in 1971 followed in the next year by the 8008. These were the very first of the "Intel Inside" chips whose power and functionality increased exponentially.

In this video from Moore, explains how the idea of putting an entire processor on a single chip became a reality. 

It was in 1965, even before founding Intel, that he made the prediction that was quickly recognized as Moore's Law - that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year.

Commenting on the eponymous law in 2008 interview Moore said:

“All I was trying to do was get that message across, that by putting more and more stuff on a chip we were going to make all electronics cheaper.”

This has certainly proved to be the case and the obituary press release issued by Intel notes: 

"With his 1965 prediction proven correct, in 1975 Moore revised his estimate to the doubling of transistors on an integrated circuit every two years for the next 10 years. Regardless, the idea of chip technology growing at an exponential rate, continually making electronics faster, smaller and cheaper, became the driving force behind the semiconductor industry and paved the way for the ubiquitous use of chips in millions of everyday products." 

In his tribute, Pat Gelsinger, Intel's current 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. We at Intel remain inspired by Moore’s Law, and intend to pursue it until the periodic table is exhausted.”

Frank D. Yeary, Chairman of Intel’s Board of Directors, said:

“Gordon was a brilliant scientist and one of America’s leading entrepreneurs and business leaders. It is impossible to imagine the world we live in today, with computing so essential to our lives, without the contributions of Gordon Moore."

As documented in multiple articles in I Programmer's History Section, prior to establishing Intel, Moore and Noyce worked together under William Shockley, the co-inventor of the transistor and founder of Shockley Semiconductor, which was the first semiconductor company established in what would become Silicon Valley. They were among the group dubbed the "traitorous eight" who left Shockley to found Fairchild Semiconductor, where they played central roles in the first commercial production of diffused silicon transistors and later the world’s first commercially viable integrated circuits. After leaving Fairchild and striking out on their own, Moore and Noyce hired Andy Grove as Intel's third employee. The three of them, known collectively as the “Intel Trinity", went to to pioneer the microprocessor revolution.  

noyc1

Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce and Andy Grove
with design of the Intel 8080 chip

 

During his lifetime Moore received many honors. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1976 for contributions to semiconductor devices from transistors to microprocessors. In 1998, he became a Fellow of the Computer History Museum:

"for his fundamental early work in the design and production of semiconductor devices as co-founder of Fairchild and Intel"

In 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2005 and in 2009 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

He was awarded the 2008 IEEE Medal of Honor for:

"pioneering technical roles in integrated-circuit processing, and leadership in the development of MOS memory, the microprocessor computer, and the semiconductor industry".

In 1990, he was presented with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President George H. W. Bush:

"for his seminal leadership in bringing American industry the two major postwar innovations in microelectronics – large-scale integrated memory and the microprocessor – that have fueled the information revolution".

and in 2002 was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor by President George W. Bush.

Gordon Moore

Gordon Earle Moore

January 3, 1929 - March 24, 2023 

Moore will also be remembered for philanthropy. Along with his wife of 72 years, he established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes, particularly environmental conservation, science and patient care improvements, since its founding in 2000.  

 

More Information

Gordon Moore, Intel Co-Founder, Dies at 94

Related Articles

Intel - The Microprocessor Revolution

The Road to Silicon Valley

50th Anniversary of First Microprocessor

Birth of the Intel 4004 - the First Microprocessor

Invention of the Microchip

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Last Updated ( Monday, 27 March 2023 )