The second talk of the series is with Federico Faggin, an Italian physicist, inventor and entrepreneur, widely known for designing the first commercial microprocessor (1971) and leading the design group of the 4004 (MCS-4) project, during the first five years of Intel’s microprocessor effort. Most importantly, in 1968, while working at Fairchild Semiconductor, he had also created the self-aligned MOS silicon gate technology (SGT), that made possible dynamic memories, non-volatile memories, CCD image sensors, and the microprocessor.
In addition, he further developed at Intel his original SGT into a new methodology for random logic chip design that was essential to the creation of the world’s first single chip microprocessor and all other early Intel microprocessors. He was co-founder (with Ralph Ungermann) and CEO of Zilog, the first company solely dedicated to microprocessors. He was also co-founder and CEO of Cygnet Technologies and of Synaptics.
He received the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor the United States confers for achievements related to technological progress. In 2011, Faggin founded the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation to support the scientific study of consciousness at US universities and research institutes. In 2015, the Faggin Foundation helped to establish a $1 million endowment for the Faggin Family Presidential Chair in the Physics of Information at UC Santa Cruz to promote the study of “fundamental questions at the interface of physics and related fields including mathematics, complex systems, biophysics, and cognitive science, with the unifying theme of information in physics.”