Gordon Moore, of Moore’s Law lore, is no more

Thu, 13 Apr 2023

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, died last month at the age of 94, but his legacy lives on.

After a distinguished and highly successful career as a technologist and businessman, he turned to philanthropy. In 2000 he and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with a gift worth about $5 billion.

For all his accomplishments, he will be best remembered by many for his 1965 article in Electronics magazine, which included a prediction that became known as ‘Moore’s Law’. This was updated 10 years later and came to be paraphrased as:

The number of transistors on a microchip will double approximately every two years.

This proved to be far more than a casual comment. Due to his status in the semiconductor industry, it was picked up as a challenge by engineers and is credited with accelerating advancements that would eventually lead to a revolution in computing.

It wasn’t just the technical prediction that proved prescient, but his predictions about the implications for future mass-market applications. These were beautifully illustrated by this cartoon, which was also published in the 1965 article.

Gordon Moore cartoon

Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers…automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communication equipment…

While its accuracy has varied over time, Moore's Law proved to be highly accurate for some years. As transistor sizes approached the atomic scale, physical limitations began to impede progress, making it increasingly difficult and expensive to continue shrinking transistors and increasing their density on a chip.

This means that Moore’s Law may be close to reaching the end of its useful life, if it hasn’t already done so, but Gordon Moore’s legacy will live on.


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