Fifty years ago, the integrated circuit was invented. Gordon Moore predicted the speed of development since then – and founded Intel
Intel co-founder and chairman emeritus Gordon E. Moore is an industry icon, with Moore’s Law regularly quoted to describe the continued progress of electronics. eWEEK was one of a select group to speak to him before an event celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the integrated circuit.
Moore was a 30-year-old executive at Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corp. in January 1959 when the theory behind the silicon integrated processor was published by his colleague Robert Noyce.
Since that year, information technology has evolved a hundredfold. And much of that development is due to the successful implementation of squeezing down transistors, resistors and other elements into smaller and smaller processor forms onto silicon wafers.
Dr. Moore, 80, and another Fairchild co-founder, Dr. Jay Last, have survived all these years to witness how the fruits of their development of the silicon-based processor have served mankind.
On 8 May, both Moore and Last were honored at the 50th anniversary celebration of the same integrated chip that Noyce envisioned so long ago. The event was held at the Computer History Museum here before a standing-room-only crowd.
Moore, visiting with a small group of reporters before the evening’s presentation, said that he had no way of knowing that what his company was working on back in the 1960s would turn out to be such an important development in the history of the world’s business and communications.
“All you’re thinking about at the time is the next product you’re coming out with. You of course have no idea about how it’s going to affect your customers, let alone the world!” said Moore, who appears to be in excellent health.
Moore is world-famous for devising “Moore’s Law,” a principle that first was published in the April 19, 1965 edition of Electronics Magazine. The “law” is as follows: “The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years.”
Moore’s article, entitled “Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits,” contained the following key excerpt:
The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year … Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000. I believe that such a large circuit can be built on a single wafer.
–From Electronics Magazine, April 19, 1965