Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder and author of Moore’s Law, dies at 94

Gordon Moore, the electronics pioneer who co-founded Intel Corp. and whose theories, including “Moore’s Law,” defined the tempo of innovation in semiconductors, has died at the age of 94.

Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder and author of Moore’s Law, dies at 94
Gordon Moore

Asa Fitch and Don Clark for The Wall Street Journal:

A 1965 article by Mr. Moore published in the trade journal Electronics predicted the pace of miniaturization in computer chips and anticipated the development of home computers, smart wristwatches, automatic controls for cars and other inventions as electronic components etched on squares of silicon become smaller, faster and cheaper. Moore’s Law, as his prediction became known, proved a remarkably accurate observation about how quickly engineers would create advances in digital technology that have led to countless fixtures of modern life.

In his landmark paper, Mr. Moore wrote that the number of transistors and other components on a typical chip would double every year. In 1975, he adjusted the formula to every two years. Carver Mead, a longtime engineering professor at the California Institute of Technology and a friend of Mr. Moore, coined the phrase by which Mr. Moore’s prediction came to be widely known.

Nowadays, whether Moore’s Law still holds is a well-worn debate among engineers and semiconductor executives. Predictions of its longevity or demise alternate depending on how much someone’s livelihood depends on it… Moore’s Law today is considered by many observers to be reaching the end of its reign. But Mr. Moore never meant for the rule of thumb that bears his name to be set in stone. He insisted he simply had made an observation about a phase of industry activity that one day would become technically impossible. But he avoided saying exactly when.

MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P., Gordon Moore.

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  1. A comment made by a reader on the New York Times obituary:

    “In 2001, Gordon Moore was graduation speaker at his alma mater Caltech. Earlier that graduation season, George W. Bush had infamously quipped at his alma mater Yale about what a “C” student could accomplish. Moore’s rejoinder: “And this is what an ‘A’ student at Caltech can accomplish!” The cheers echoed off the San Gabriel mountains.

    After the speech, when many VIPs were trying to steer him away, Moore stayed put and chatted with students, reassuring them about their futures. RIP to someone who balanced brilliance and kindness.”

  2. The problem here is virtually everyone misstates what Gordon Moore said back in 1965. It was NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT, that “the number of components on an integrated circuit would double every year” as the linked Wall Street Journal article says. It was not that the computational speed of computer chips will double every two years as all too many people have said. It was not that component sizes (aka feature sizes) would decrease by a factor of two (linear decreases of the square root of two) every two years as all too many people have claimed. It was not that the cost of computer chips will go down every two years, again as all too many people have claimed.

    What became Moore’s law was never that simple according to Gordon Moore himself. Go find his original article from way back then. It’s available if you search. Read it and understand that his prediction was much more complex — and rather accurate for the next 60 years.

    Gordon Moore was one of the very, very few who predicted the future with a significant amount of accuracy.

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