Moore's Law creator Gordon Moore has died, aged 94

Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

Moore's Law creator Gordon Moore has died, aged 94

Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have announced that company co-founder Gordon Moore has passed away at the age of 94. Moore died peacefully on Friday, 24 March 2023, surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii. Moore and his long-time colleague Robert Noyce founded Intel in July 1968; Moore initially served as executive vice president until 1975, when he became president. In 1979, Moore was named chairman of the board and chief executive officer, posts he held until 1987, when he gave up on the CEO position and continued as chairman. In 1997, Moore became chairman emeritus, stepping down in 2006.

During his lifetime, Moore dedicated his focus to philanthropy, particularly environmental conservation, patient care improvements and science. 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 since its founding in 2000.

Foundation president Harvey Fineberg said that although Moore never aspired to be a household name, his vision and life’s work enabled the phenomenal innovation and technological developments that shape our everyday lives. “Yet those historic achievements are only part of his legacy. His and Betty’s generosity as philanthropists will shape the world for generations to come. Those of us who have met and worked with Gordon will forever be inspired by his wisdom, humility and generosity,” Fineberg said.

Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said Moore defined the technology industry through his insight and vision, and was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors. “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 fuelled by Gordon’s leadership at the helm of Intel, and I am humbled by the honour and responsibility to carry his legacy forward,” Gelsinger said.

Prior to establishing Intel, Moore and Noyce participated in the founding of 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. The two had also 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. Upon striking out on their own, Moore and Noyce hired future Intel CEO Andy Grove as the third employee — together, they became known as the “Intel Trinity”, and their legacy continues today.

Frank D. Yeary, chairman of Intel’s board of directors, said Moore 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. He will always be an inspiration to our Intel family and his thinking at the core of our innovation culture,” Yeary said.

Andy Bryant, former chairman of Intel’s board of directors, added that he will remember Moore as a brilliant scientist, a straight-talker and an astute businessperson who sought to make the world better and always do the right thing. In addition to Moore’s seminal role in founding two of the world’s pioneering technology companies, he forecast in 1965 that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year — a prediction that came to be known as Moore’s Law. “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,” Moore said in a 2008 interview.

With his 1965 prediction proven correct, in 1974 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 use of chips in millions of everyday products. In 2022, the Ronler Acres campus in Oregon — where Intel teams develop future process technologies — was renamed to Gordon Moore Park at Ronler Acres. The RA4 building that’s home to much of Intel’s Technology Development Group was also renamed The Moore Center along with its cafe, The Gordon.

“I can think of no better way to honour Gordon and the profound impact he’s had on this company than by bestowing his name on this campus. I hope we did you proud today, Gordon. And the world thanks you,” Gelsinger said.

In 1950, Moore married Betty Irene Whitaker, who survives him. Moore is also survived by sons Kenneth and Steven and four grandchildren.

Gordon and Betty Moore established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to create positive outcomes for future generations. In pursuit of that vision, the Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Image credit: Intel Corporation

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