Milestone-Proposal:Moore's Law - Predicts Integrated Circuit Complexity Growth, 1965

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Docket #:2015-11

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

"Moore’s Law," 1965

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Fairchild and Intel, began his work in silicon microelectronics at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1956. His 1965 prediction at Fairchild Semiconductor, subsequently known as "Moore’s Law,” that the number of components on an integrated circuit will increase exponentially with time while cost per function decreases, guided the industry's contributions to advances in electronics and computing for more than fifty years.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

Santa Clara Valley Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: Santa Clara Valley Section
Senior Officer Name: Joseph Wei

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: Santa Clara Valley Section
Senior Officer Name: Joseph Wei

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: Santa Clara Valley Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Joseph Wei

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Dick Ahrons
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: David Laws
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

The Village at San Antonio Center, 391 San Antonio Rd., Mountain View, CA 94040

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. This site was chosen as Gordon Moore, later Director of R & D at Fairchild Semiconductor, began his career in the semiconductor industry at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory that was formerly located here. The IEEE Milestone "Birthplace of Silicon Valley, 1956" will also be located at this address on an exterior wall over looking San Antonio Road. The Technology Plaza will be a large courtyard in the public area of The Village at San Antonio, 391 San Antonio Road, Mountain View, a commercial development of offices and movie theaters. The Plaza will incorporate exhibits related to the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and the development of Silicon Valley.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

The "Moore's Law" milestone plaque will be mounted in the Technology Plaza adjacent to a video information booth and a 20 foot high artwork in the form of a silicon crystal lattice.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Plaque will be securly attached. Plaza is open to the public

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

MerloneGeier Partners Site owner permission letter has been received by History Center Staff.

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

On April 19, 1965, Electronics magazine published an article by Gordon E. Moore, Director of the Fairchild Semiconductor Research and Development Laboratories in Palo Alto, CA that projected the growth in the complexity of integrated circuits (ICs), popularly called microchips, or computer chips, over the next ten years. Written to encourage his company’s customers to adopt the most advanced technology in their new computer designs, his prediction emerged as a self-fulfilling prophecy that informed the actions and goals of industry technologists and executives worldwide.

Under the title “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits,” Moore predicted “the development of integrated electronics for perhaps the next ten years.” [1] He plotted a graph of the maximum number of components that Fairchild technologists had been able to squeeze onto a silicon computer chip at minimum cost per component since the development of the company’s groundbreaking planar manufacturing process in 1959 until 1965. Drawing a line through just five data points he projected that “with unit cost falling as the number of components per circuit rises, by 1975 economics may dictate squeezing as many as 65,000 components on a single silicon chip.” This represented a doubling every 12 months.

At the 1975 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, Moore, by now co-founder responsible for R&D at Intel Corporation, noted that advances in photolithography, wafer size, process technology, and “circuit and device cleverness,” had allowed his projection to be realized. On adding subsequent products to his original handful of simple logic ICs, notably important new devices such as microprocessors and memories, Moore modified the trend and reduced his estimate of the future rate of increase in complexity to “a doubling every two years, rather than every year.” [2]

After Caltech electrical engineering professor Carver Mead dubbed this projection “Moore’s Law,’” industry technologists and managers were challenged with delivering annual breakthroughs in optics, materials science, methods of wafer processing, circuit design techniques, software, manufacturing and test equipment, and management of complex industrial operations to ensure compliance with its projections. On reviewing the status of the industry again in 1995 (at which time an Intel Pentium microprocessor held nearly 5 million transistors) Moore concluded that “The current prediction is that this is not going to stop soon.” [3] By 2010, commercial microprocessors from AMD, Intel, and other vendors comprised over 1 billion transistors representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in excess of 40 percent per year.

On the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law in 2015, Intel Corporation published a report developed by business information provider IHS that found that Moore’s Law has played a critical role in generating a minimum estimated $3 trillion in incremental GDP over the past 20 years. The report” highlighted the profound economic, technological and societal impact of Moore’s Law and how its exponential nature may have even greater implications for the future. [4]

The impact and benefits of the “Law” are evident on the economy, society and the technological universe. Improved computing performance at ever-decreasing cost enhanced existing industries and increased productivity, but also spawned whole new industries. Inexpensive, ubiquitous computing fundamentally changed the way society works, plays, communicates and lives. The foundational force of Moore’s Law has driven breakthroughs in urban design, transportation, healthcare, education, and energy production.

[1] Moore, Gordon E. “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits,” Electronics, McGraw Hill, Inc. Vol. 38, No.8 (April 19, 1965) [2] Moore, Gordon. “Progress in Digital Integrated Electronics” IEEE, IEDM Tech Digest (1975) pp.11-13. [3] Moore, Gordon. “Lithography and the Future of Moore’s Law,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 2437 (May 1995) [4] Ford, Dale. “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moore's Law” IHS Inc. (2015)

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?


What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

While many technologists have offered predictions on future progress in microelectronics over the years, none have achieved the widespread and sustained impact of Moore’s Law. A significant factor behind this success has been the author’s leading role as a founder of Intel in directing the technical and financial resources and corporate strategies essential to its success. Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson has described a figure illustrating the 1965 article as “the most important graph in human history.” [1] The San Jose Mercury News noted that "Since its inception over 50 years ago, today, Moore's Law has been a safe bet - it is the open immutable rule that drives Silicon Valley." [2] Similar trends in other areas of technology, from areal density in magnetic data storage to speed improvements in 3D printing have been described as "following Moore's Law."

[1] Jurvetson, Steve. “Transcending Moore's Law to Forge the Future,” Computer History Museum, CORE, 2015 pp. 36-39 [2] Carey, Pete. “Silicon Valley marks 50 years of Moore's Law,” San Jose Mercury News (April 19, 2015)

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Arnold Thackray, David Brock and Rachel Jones "Moore's Law", Basic Books, 2015 - all 508 pages

"Gordon Moore's Vision, Doubling Down," San Jose Mercury News, April 19, 2015, p A1 and A13

Gordon More, "Cramming more components onto integrated circuits." Electronics, Volume 38, Number 8, April 19, 1965,

"IBM Back On Track with Moore's Law," Science; July 2015, vol 349, issue 6245: p 220

Computer History Museum, CORE, 2015, Walter Isaacson, "Moore's Law @ 50," p 24-29

Computer History Museum, CORE, 2015, David Brock, "How Moore's Law Came to Be," p 30-33

Computer History Museum, CORE, 2015, Stevan Levy, "How Understanding Moore's Law Made Goggle Possible," p 34-35

Computer History Museum, CORE, 2015, Steve Jurvetson, "Transcending Moore's to Forge the Future," p 36-39

Dale Ford, "Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moore's Law," IHS Technology

Moore, Gordon. “Progress in Digital Integrated Electronics” IEEE, IEDM Tech Digest (1975) pp.11-13.

Moore, Gordon. “Lithography and the Future of Moore’s Law,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 2437 (May 1995)

Schlender, Brent “Intel’s $10 billion gamble,” Fortune (November 11, 2002)

Moore, Gordon E. “No Exponential Is Forever: but ‘Forever’ Can Be Delayed!” Solid-State Circuits Conference, 2003. Digest of Technical Papers. ISSCC. 2003 IEEE International (February 13, 2003) pp: 20-21.

Packy, Kelly “Moore’s Law Chips Confidence” E.E. Times (2.11.15)

Hachman, Mark “Intel: Moore’s Law will continue through 7nm chips” PC World (Feb22, 2015)

"The Long Good- bye," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 29

Mack, Chris, "The Multiple Lives of Moore's Law," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 30-33

Hutcheson, Dan, "Transistors by the Numbers," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 33-37

Koomey, Joathan, and Naffzuger, Samuel, "Efficiency's Brief Reprieve," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 35

Courtland, Rachael, "When Mead Met Moore," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 37

"The Law That's Not A Law, Conversation with Gordon Moore," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 38-40

Huang, Andrew, "Moore's Law is Dying (and That Could Be Good)," IEEE Spectrum, April 2015 , p 42-45

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Original Article Media:Moore_1965_Electronics_Article.pdf

Revised projection Media:Moore_1975_IEEE_Speech.pdf

Moore's Law at 50:

Gordon Moore:

Media:Moore's Law plot for MPUs (Linear version).jpg

Media:Moore's Law plot for MPUs (Log_Linear version).jpg

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.