Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have announced this evening that Gordon Moore, Intel’s famous co-founder and grandfather to much of the modern chip industry, has passed away. According to the company he passed peacefully at his home in Hawaii, surrounded by his family.
One of the original titans of the modern technology industry, Gordon Moore had a long and illustrious career in the then-nascent silicon chipmaking industry. Arguably best known for coining what developed into the eponymous Moore’s Law, Moore became a highly respected engineer and leader over his many years working at Fairchild Semiconductor, and later Intel. His long tenure also saw him collect numerous industry awards, as well as a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Gordon Moore started his technology career under William Shockley, the co-inventor of the transistor and founder of Shockley Semiconductor. He would then go on to work on silicon transistors and the first commercially viable integrated circuits at Fairchild Semiconductor – a contentious act that saw them labeled as the “traitorous eight”. Finally, in 1968, Moore and fellow traitor Robert Noyce would go on to found Intel, Moore’s longest and most influential period of work.
Between then and his retirement from Intel in 1997, when he stepped down as Intel’s chairman and became chairman emeritus, Moore oversaw the rise of a company that became, for many years, the undisputed leader of the microprocessor industry. During this time Intel launched its scores of groundbreaking products, including Intel’s initial memory products, of course, the Intel 8086 processor, the first of what became Intel’s critical x86 CPU lineup. After starting at Intel as an Executive VP, Moore would eventually go on to become president, and finally CEO of the company in 1979, serving in that position until 1987.
Moore In 2015, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law
In 1965, Gordon Moore coined a phrase that later became Moore’s Law, stating that the number of components (transistors) in a circuit doubles every 12 months. This was later revised to 24 months in 1975. The phrase has been a mainstay when discussing the newest generation of hardware, and was the benchmark that many chip and fab developments were measured against for many years.
Following his retirement from Intel, Moore founded his Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation alongside his wife in 2000. The foundation, which is still active, has to date donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes in fields of fields science, medicine, and environmental conservation.
Pat Gelsinger, Intel 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. Gordon’s vision lives on as our true north as we use the power of technology to improve the lives of every person on Earth. My career and much of my life took shape within the possibilities fueled by Gordon’s leadership at the helm of Intel, and I am humbled by the honor and responsibility to carry his legacy forward.”
While long since retired from Intel, Moore’s presence at the company has (and will) continue in a few different ways. Most recently, Intel renamed it’s Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro, Oregon as the Gordon Moore Park at Ronler Acres. As well, the company maintains his desk at their Santa Clara headquarters, which our own Dr. Ian Cutress had a chance to visit in 2019.
Gordon Moore is survived by his wife of 73 years, Betty Moore, sons Kenneth and Steven, and four grandchildren.