June 9, 2023

Gordon Moore, co-founder and former CEO of Intel, has passed away at 94. He was the last surviving member of the Intel Trinity, which also included his fellow founder Robert Noyce and their first hire Andy Grove. Moore and Noyce previously worked with the co-inventor of the transistor, William Shockley, before helping found Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1968, the two struck out on their own and founded NM Electronics, which eventually became Intel. 

A few years before that, in 1965, Moore wrote a paper that envisioned the miniaturization of computers. To be precise, he predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year, leading to the creation and production of smaller and more powerful chips that would, in turn, enable advancements in technology. His prediction was dubbed “Moore’s Law,” and it was proven accurate in the years that followed. By 1975, he adjusted his estimate for the doubling of transistors to every two years, though now top chipmakers disagree on whether Moore’s Law still holds. 

In 1979, Moore was named chairman of the board and CEO at Intel before giving up the latter role in 1987. He apparently served as mediator between Noyce and Grove, and he and Grove were the ones who decided that Intel would focus on microprocessors instead of continuing with its memory business. The rest, as they say, is history. Before Moore completely stepped down from his duties at Intel in 2006, he and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with $5 billion in funding. The foundation supported environmental conservation efforts, mostly in the San Francisco Bay area, and donated to various educational institutions’ science and technology departments. 

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