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.

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation, is interviewed by Tom Friedman in 2015 during 50th anniversary ceremonies of Moore's Law. Moore co-founded Intel Corporation in July 1968 and served the company as executive vice president, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board. (Credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)
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.

Source: Intel

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  • Chaitanya - Saturday, March 25, 2023 - link

    Ironically Intel is lobbying against ban of PFA and other hazardous chemicals while Moore himself was a environmentalist.
  • Hifihedgehog - Sunday, March 26, 2023 - link

    *An environmentalist when it is convenient for his profit-making. Bill Gates is guilty of the same shenanigans, who complains about cow farts while totally okay with Surfaces and Xboxes that are glued-down (until only recently in very few cases) disposable e-waste.
  • Samus - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    Probably up there playing a Bridge with Albert Einstein, Alan Turing and Nikola Tesla
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    A bridge too far.
  • smithereens - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    Seems kinda pompous to refer to Ian as "Dr. Ian Cutress" but to not refer to Gordon as "Dr. Gordon Moore."
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    Titles are being killed, in favor of everyone going by their first name.
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    Some PHDs don't use the doctor title. I know several friends of mine who choose not to use it despite having the doctorate. I have no idea whether or not that applies to this case, but it's entirely possible that it does.

    On topic: Many CEOs won't have a fraction of the impact in their industry that Gordon Moore (or Dr. Gordon Moore, if that were to be correct) had. That's an amazing legacy and hopefully one that Intel won't let down.
  • JKflipflop98 - Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - link

    Gordon didn't like using his "Dr." title outside of technical events with other engineers. He was a regular, humble guy that just so happened to be a genius. Other people coined the phrase "Moore's Law", it wasn't him. He said himself he couldn't even stand to utter the phrase at first because it embarrassed him. It wasn't even a law. But after 15 or 20 years he realized it wasn't going anywhere so he got used to using it.
  • dwbogardus - Friday, March 31, 2023 - link

    Moore's Law was never a law of physics, but instead a law of "customer expectations". After several successive generations of shrinking transistor geometries, shrinking power consumption per transistor, and increasing speed and total transistor counts, all resulting in substantial performance increases relative to prior generations, customers expected more of the same going forward. Generation after generation of microprocessors delivered substantial improvements relative to those produced on earlier, less dense processes. The industry had gotten on a treadmill that was harder and more expensive to stay on, but customers expected them to keep going... And amazingly, the industry has, but is approaching physical size limits for shrinkage.
  • tygrus - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - link

    It wasn't a law but an observation of past trends of research & economics. For many decades the number transistors per chip have doubled every 18 to 24months. Overall performance had a similar rate of improvement but has slowed in recent years with more improvements for limited instructions/uses. Cooling of small areas is now a significant limitation.

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