Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the man behind “,” who became a driving force among makers of computers, phones and other electronics, died Friday at age 94.
Moore “defined the technology industry through his insight and vision,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement. “He helped unlock the power of transistors and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs over the decades.”
In 1965, Moore predicted that as computer chip manufacturing improved, the size of components shrank, the number of transistors on a chip would double each year—resulting in dramatic increases in performance and capabilities. A decade later, he changed the observation every two years.
“The Law” has become a goal for technology companies to strive for and has established a rhythm of innovation that sustains progress.
“It created a metronome,” Genevieve Bell, a cultural anthropologist for Intel, told CNET in 2015.. “It gave us this incredible view of constant progress that’s constantly changing.”
This means, among other things, that your cell phone is more powerful than an entire room of computers back in the day.
With chip components now shrunk down to atomic scales, some say Moore’s Law has run out. But others say it will continue, thanks to manufacturing innovations such as building chips made from not just one, but several pieces of silicon.
Moore was born in San Francisco in 1929 and later attended San Jose State University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Caltech, where he earned a doctorate in chemistry.
In 1957, he co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor with, among others, Robert Noyce, who helped invent the microchip, or integrated circuit, which is the basis of computer chip design and paved the way for the iPhone and countless other gadgets. In 1968, the two founded Intel, which grew to become the world’s largest chip maker, although it later relinquished that crown.
In later years, Moore turned to philanthropy. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established with his wife, awards grants for efforts aimed at environmental protection, research and higher education.
In 1990, Moore received the National Medal of Technology, and in 2002 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.