An Evening with Gordon Moore's Article

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An Evening with Gordon Moore

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Moore’s Law. Spend an evening with Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and the man behind the most famous phrase in the semiconductor industry. This free event, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, features Moore in conversation with Carver Mead, the CalTech professor who coined the term Moore’s Law.



Moore’s Law: A Retrospective

Forty years ago, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made an observation that became an accurate forecast of the rapid pace of semiconductor innovation. Popularly known as “Moore’s Law,” it stated that transistor density on integrated circuits would double about every two years.

Since then, Moore’s Law has been the technology guidepost for the semiconductor equipment and materials industry, stimulating suppliers to invest billions of dollars in R&D to push the limits of CMOS silicon.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Computer History Museum and SEMI present Gordon Moore in conversation with Carver Mead, on September 29, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

It was Mead, formerly a professor at CalTech, who coined the term “Moore’s Law.”

The original prediction that circuit density would double every year was right on the mark for the first 10 years. In 1975, Moore revisited the issue and adjusted the prediction to a doubling every two years – although it is popularly quoted in the press as being “every 18 months”.

“I had no idea this was going to be an accurate prediction, but amazingly enough instead of 10 [years] doubling, we got 9 over the 10 years, but still followed pretty well along the curve,” said Moore in an interview published by Intel to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Moore’s Law.

Moore is humble about the accuracy of his namesake law. “There was no way [at the time] we could predict very far down the road what was going to happen,” he said. Instead, Moore calls it a “lucky guess…a lucky extrapolation.”

Continues Moore: “The industry made it a self-fulfilling prophesy now, the industry road maps are based on that continued rate of improvement. All the participants in the business recognize that if they don’t move that fast they fall behind technology, so essentially from being just a measure of what has happened, it’s become a driver of what is going to happen. Something I never would have imagined initially.”

As for how long his law can continue to hold, Moore credits the creativity of engineers to overcome technology barriers, but recognizes that fundamental laws of physics will be the ultimate barrier.

“Materials are made of atoms, and we’re getting suspiciously close to some of the atomic dimensions with these new structures, but I’m sure we’ll find ways to squeeze even further than we think we presently can,” he said.

Moore adds that even if the doubling rate slows down in the future, progress in the semiconductor industry will far surpass that of nearly all other industries.

The evening with Gordon Moore is open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Entry is free for members of the Computer History Museum; non-members are asked for a $10 donation to the museum. A member reception begins at 6:00pm, with the speaking event starting at 7.00 p.m.

To register for this event, click here.