Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel who first posited what would become known as Moore’s Law, has died at the age of 94.
The American businessman and engineer was fundamental in not just building early microchips, but aggressively developing them to drive continual improvements. This was because of his belief that the number of transistors on a typical microchip would double roughly every two years – a theory that would become known as Moore’s Law.
As it turned out, the law became truth largely because of the effort Moore and his team put into developing better and faster chips to keep up with demand and stay ahead of their competitors.
Referred to as one of ‘Silicon Valley’s founding fathers’ and even the ‘prophet of the PC’, Moore established Intel with business partner Robert Noyce in 1968. He was seen as the hands-on engineer, actively working to develop his company’s technology. His work paid off, as Intel chips would soon come to be used in more than 80% of personal computers worldwide.
Their work would not only make chips more efficient but more affordable too, which itself went a long way to driving the adoption of personal computers for use in the home.
Moore’s forecasting abilities didn’t stop at transistor capacities, however. Some four decades before the release of the original iPhone, Moore said on record how he expected the work of his team and peers would one day “lead to such wonders as home computers… and personal portable communications equipment.”
Despite all this, Moore admitted in his later years that it wasn’t until the late 1980s that he finally got a home computer himself.
Moore remained a rather humble man, always saying his success came from being in the right place at the right time. In 2005 he told an interviewer: “I was very fortunate to get into the semiconductor industry in its infancy. 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.”