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IDF Fall 2007, part 3-- Gordon Moore interview

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore discusses trends in the semiconductor industry here at IDF.

Gordon Moore is a man of extraordinary significance in the semiconductor industry. He co-founded Intel, identified the trend now known as Moore's Law, and has made innumerable personal contributions to this field.

When Moore came up on stage for an interview here at IDF, he received a standing ovation. This was a 10th anniversary appearance; Moore keynoted the very first IDF in 1997.

He was interviewed by Moira Gunn, host of Tech Nation on National Public Radio. Indeed, I gather the interview was presented as a live webcast of Tech Nation.

The interview covered familiar territory-- Moore being brought in to Shockley Semiconductor by William Shockley, his departure to form Fairchild with the rest of the "Traitorous Eight," early progress in semiconductor fabrication, etc.

In between minutiae such as who coined the term "Moore's Law" (Carver Mead) and who has the largest cubicle at Intel (Moore does), Moore addressed some significant issues.

Moore concedes, for example, that Moore's Law as it applies to traditional integrated circuits probably has only 10-15 years left to run. He quoted physicist Stephen Hawking as pointing out that "the speed of light and the atomic nature of matter" are insuperable limits, at least as far as anyone knows today.

In fact, Moore says that if he were a student today, he'd probably look to the life sciences for a career rather than the computer industry. But as he said, the really interesting opportunities exist "at the interfaces"-- such as the interface between life sciences and computing.

But overall, this interview was just a cozy, personal chat about Moore's perspective on the history and future of the industry he helped build. It's always great to see him, and I hope he'll be back to IDF in another ten years.