Federico Faggin (born 1 December 1941), is an Italian physicist, inventor and entrepreneur, widely known for designing the first commercial microprocessor. He led the 4004 (MCS-4) project and the design group during the first five years of Intel's microprocessor effort. Most importantly, Faggin created in 1968, while working at Fairchild Semiconductor, 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.
Faggin in September 2011.
1 December 1941|
|Alma mater||University of Padua (Laurea in Physics, 1965)|
MOS Silicon Gate Technology |
Intel 4004, Intel 8080
Synaptics Touchpad, Touchscreen
|Children||daughter (1970) and two sons (1979, 1980)|
Marconi Prize (1988) |
W. Wallace McDowell Award (1994)
Kyoto Prize (1997)
National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2009)
Computer History Museum Fellow (2009)
Enrico Fermi Prize by IFS (2014)
Physics, Electrical engineering |
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."
Federico Faggin has been a Silicon Valley resident since 1968 and is a naturalized US citizen.
Education and early careerEdit
Born in Vicenza, Faggin received a laurea degree in physics, summa cum laude, at the University of Padua, Italy. Federico grew up in an intellectual environment. His father, Giuseppe Faggin, was a scholar who wrote many academic books and translated, with commentaries, the Enneads of Plotinus from the original Greek into modern Italian. Federico manifested, from an early age, a strong interest in technology and decided to attend a technical high school in Vicenza: I.T.I.S (Istitituto Tecnico Industriale Statale) Alessandro Rossi, rather than follow the family tradition of classical studies.
Olivetti R&D LabsEdit
At age 19, after his graduation from I.T.I.S. Alessandro Rossi, a technical high school in Vicenza, Federico Faggin took a job at Olivetti, in Italy, where he co-designed and led the implementation of a small digital transistor computer with 4 K × 12 bit of magnetic memory (1960). The Olivetti R&D was the environment where, a few years later, the Olivetti Programma 101, the world's first programmable desktop electronic calculator, became a reality (1964). After this first work experience, Faggin studied physics at the University of Padua and taught the electronics laboratory course for 3rd year physics students in the academic year 1965-1966.
In 1967 he worked at SGS Fairchild, now STMicroelectronics, in Italy, where he developed SGS's first MOS metal-gate process technology MOS and designed its first two commercial MOS integrated circuits. SGS sent him to California in February 1968 and when Fairchild sold its interests in SGS-Fairchild, Faggin accepted a job offer from Fairchild to complete the development of the Silicon Gate Technology.
Life and accomplishments in Silicon ValleyEdit
The silicon-gate technology (SGT) is one of the most influential technology to have ever fueled the progress of microelectronics since the MOS transistor. Without the SGT the first microprocessor could not have been made in 1970-1971.
In February 1968 Federico Faggin joined Fairchild Semiconductor in Palo Alto where he was the project leader of the MOS Silicon Gate technology with self-aligned gate, and the inventor of its unique process architecture. The SGT became the basis of all modern NMOS and CMOS integrated circuits. It made possible the creation of semiconductor memories in 1969–1970, the first microprocessor in 1970–1971, and the first CCD and EPROM (electrically programmable read only memories) with floating silicon gates (1970-1971). The SGT replaced the incumbent aluminum-gate MOS technology and within 10 years was adopted worldwide, eventually making obsolete the original integrated circuits built with bipolar transistors.
The Fairchild 3708Edit
At Fairchild Faggin also designed the world's first commercial integrated circuit using Silicon Gate Technology with self aligned MOSFET transistors: the Fairchild 3708. The 3708 was an 8-bit analog multiplexer with decoding logic, replacing the equivalent Fairchild 3705 that used metal-gate technology. The 3708 was 5 times faster, had 100 times less junction leakage and was much more reliable than the 3705, demonstrating the superiority of SGT over metal-gate MOS. See also: Faggin, F., Klein T. (1969). "A Faster Generation of MOS Devices With Low Threshold Is Riding The Crest of the New Wave, Silicon-Gate IC's." Electronics, 29 Sept. 1969.
"The microprocessor is the old idea of computer recast in silicon." (Federico Faggin)
Federico Faggin joined Intel from Fairchild In 1970 as the project leader and designer of the MCS-4 family, which included the 4004, the world's first single-chip microprocessor. Fairchild was not taking advantage of the SGT and Faggin was burning with the desire of using his new technology to design advanced chips.
"I had the desire for this technology to be second to none." ( F.F.)
The 4004 (1971) was made possible by the advanced capabilities of the silicon gate technology (SGT) being enhanced through the novel random logic chip design methodology that Faggin created at Intel. It was this new methodology, together with his several design innovations, that allowed him to fit the microprocessor in one small chip. A single-chip microprocessor — an idea that was expected to occur many years in the future — became possible in 1971 by using SGT with two additional innovations: (1)"buried contacts" that doubled the circuit density, and (2) the use of bootstrap loads with 2-phase clocks—previously considered impossible with SGT— that improved the speed 5 times, while reducing the chip area by half compared with metal-gate MOS. Federico Faggin signed the 4004 CPU with his initials because he knew that:
"The silicon design is the essence of the first microprocessor." (F.F.)
The Intel 4004 — a 4-bit CPU (central processing unit) on a single chip — was a member of a family of 4 custom chips designed for Busicom, a Japanese calculator manufacturer. The other members of the family (constituting the MCS-4 family) were: the 4001, a 2k-bit metal-mask programmable ROM with programmable input-output lines; the 4002, a 320-bit dynamic RAM with a 4-bit output port; and the 4003, a 10-bit serial input and serial/parallel output, static shift register to use as an I/O expander. Faggin promoted the idea of broadly marketing the MCS-4 to customers other than Busicom by showing to Intel management how customers could design a control systems using the 4004. He designed and built a 4004 tester using the 4004 as the controller of the tester, thus convincing Bob Noyce to renegotiate the exclusivity clause with Busicom that didn't allow Intel to sell 4004's to other customers.
In 2009, the four contributors to the 4004 were inducted as Fellows of the Computer History Museum. Ted Hoff, head of Application Research Department, formulated the architectural proposal and the instruction set with assistance from Stan Mazor and working in conjunction with Busicom's Masatoshi Shima. However none of them was a chip designer and none was familiar with the new Silicon Gate Technology (SGT). The silicon design was the essential missing ingredient to making a microprocessor since everything else was already known. Federico Faggin led the project in a different department without Hoff's and Mazor's involvement. Faggin had invented the original SGT at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968 and provided additional refinements and inventions to make possible the implementation of the 4004 in a single chip. With routine help from M. Shima, Faggin completed the chip design in January 1971.
Intel's early microprocessorsEdit
Faggin's silicon design methodology was used for implementing all Intel's early microprocessors.
The Intel 8008 was the world's first single-chip 8-bit CPU and, like the 4004, was built with p-channel SGT. The 8008 development was originally assigned to Hal Feeney in March 1970 but was suspended until the 4004 was completed. It was resumed in January 1971 under Faggin's direction utilizing the basic circuits and methodology he had developed for the 4004, with Hal Feeney doing the chip design. The CPU architecture of the 8008 was originally created by CTC, Inc., to power the Datapoint 2200 intelligent terminal.
The Intel 4040 microprocessor (1974) was a much improved, machine-code-compatible version of the 4004 CPU allowing it to interface directly with standard memories and I/O devices. Federico Faggin created the 4040s architecture and supervised Tom Innes who did the design work.
The 8080 microprocessor (1974) was the first high-performance 8-bit microprocessor in the market, using the faster n-channel SGT. The 8080 was conceived and designed by F. Faggin and designed by Masatoshi Shima under Faggin's supervision. The 8080 was a major improvement over the 8008 architecture, yet it retained software compatibility with it. It was much faster and easier to interface to external memory and I/O devices than the 8008. The high performance and low cost of the 8080 let developers use microprocessors for many new applications, including the forerunners of the personal computer.
When Faggin left Intel at the end of 1974 to found Zilog with Ralph Ungermann, he was R&D department manager responsible for all MOS products, except for dynamic memories.
Zilog was the first company entirely dedicated to microprocessors started by Federico Faggin and Ralph Ungermann in November 1974. F. Faggin was Zilog's President and CEO until the end of 1980 and he conceived and designed the Z80-CPU and its family of programmable peripheral components. He also co-designed the CPU whose project leader was M.Shima. The Z80-CPU was a major improvement over the 8080, yet it retained software compatibility with it. Much faster and with more than twice as many registers and instructions of the 8080, it was part of a family of components that included several intelligent peripherals (the Z80-PIO, a programmable parallel input-output controller; the Z80-CTC, a programmable counter-timer; the Z80-SIO, programmable serial communications interface controller, and the Z80-DMA, programmable direct memory access controller). This chip family allowed the design of powerful and low-cost microcomputers with performance comparable to minicomputers. The Z80-CPU had a substantially better bus structure and interrupt structure than the 8080 and could interface directly with dynamic RAM, since it included an internal memory-refresh controller. The Z80 was used in many of the early personal computers as well as in game consoles such as the ColecoVision and Game Boy. The Z80 is still in volume production in 2017 as a core microprocessor in various systems on a chip.
The Zilog Z8 micro controller (1978) was one of the first single-chip microcontrollers in the market. It integrated an 8-bit CPU, RAM, ROM and I/O facilities, sufficient for many control applications. Faggin conceived the Z8 in 1974, soon after he founded Zilog, but then decided to give priority to the Z80. The Z8 was designed in 1976–78 and is still in volume production today (2017).
The Communication CoSystemEdit
The Communication CoSystem (1984). The Cosystem was conceived by F. Faggin and designed and produced by Cygnet Technologies, Inc., the second startup company of Faggin. Attached to a personal computer and to a standard phone line, the CoSystem could automatically handle all the personal voice and data communications of the user, including electronic mail, data-base access, computer screen transfers during a voice communication, call record keeping, etc. The patent covering the CoSystem is highly cited in the personal communication field.
In 1986 Faggin co-founded and was CEO of Synaptics until 1999, becoming Chairman from 1999 to 2009. Synaptics was initially dedicated to R&D in artificial neural networks for pattern-recognition applications using analog VLSI. Synaptics introduced the I1000, the world's first single-chip optical character recognizer in 1991. In 1994, Synaptics introduced the touchpad to replace the cumbersome trackball then in use in laptop computers. The touchpad was broadly adopted by the industry. Synaptics also introduced the early touchscreens that were eventually adopted for intelligent phones and tablets; applications that now dominate the market. Faggin came up with the general product idea and led a group of engineers who further refined the idea through many brainstorming sessions. F. Faggin is a co-inventor of 10 patents assigned to Synaptics. He is chairman emeritus of Synaptics.
During his tenure as president and CEO of Foveon, from 2003 to 2008, Faggin revitalized the company and provided a new technological and business direction resulting in image sensors superior in all critical parameters to the best sensors of the competition, while using approximately half the chip size of competing devices. Faggin also oversaw the successful acquisition of Foveon by the Japanese Sigma Corporation in November 2008.
Federico and Elvia Faggin FoundationEdit
Founded in 2011 the "Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation" supports the scientific study of consciousness at US universities and research institutes. The purpose of the Foundation is to advance the understanding of consciousness through theoretical and experimental research. Faggin's interest in consciousness has his roots in the study of artificial neural networks at Synaptics, a company he started in 1986, that prompted his inquiry into whether or not it is possible to build a conscious computer.
On the silicon gate technology and the Fairchild 3708
- Faggin, F., Klein, T., and Vadasz, L. :"Insulated Gate Field Effect Transistor Integrated Circuits with Silicon Gates". The Silicon Gate Technology with self-aligned gates was presented by its developer Federico Faggin at the IEEE International Electron Device Meeting on 23 October 1968, in Washington D.C. This new technology empowered the design of dynamic RAM memories, non-volatile memories, CCD sensors and the microprocessor.
- Federico Faggin and Thomas Klein.: "A Faster Generation of MOS Devices with Low Thresholds is Riding the Crest of the New Wave, Silicon-Gate IC's". The article published in Electronics (29 September 1969) introduces the Fairchild 3708, the world's first commercial integrated circuit using Silicon Gate Technology, designed by Federico Faggin at Fairchild in 1968.
- F. Faggin, T. Klein: "Silicon-Gate Technology". "Solid State Electronics", 1970, Vo. 13, pp. 1125–1144
[check quotation syntax] On the 4004 microprocessor
- F. Faggin and M. E. Hoff: "Standard Parts and Custom Design Merge in a Four-chip Processor Kit". Electronics, 24 April 1972
- F. Faggin, et al.: "The MCS-4 An LSI Microcomputer System". IEEE 1972 Region Six Conference
- "The Birth of the Microprocessor" by Federico Faggin. Byte, March 1992, Vol.17 No.3, pp. 145–150.
- "The History of the 4004" by Federico Faggin, Marcian E. Hoff Jr., Stanley Mazor, Masatoshi Shima. IEEE Micro, December 1996, Volume 16 Number 6.
- "The 4004 microprocessor of Faggin, Hoff, Mazor, and Shima". IEEE Solid State Circuits Magazine, Winter 2009 Vol.1 No.1.
- "The MOS silicon gate technology and the first microprocessors" by Federico Faggin. La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento, year 2015, issue 12-December. SIF (Italian Physical Society)
- "How we made the microprocessor" by Federico Faggin. Nature Electronics, Vol. 1, January 2018. Published online: 8 January 2018
- 1988: Marconi International Fellowship Award "for his pioneering contributions to the implementation of the microprocessor, a principal building block of modern telecommunications"
- 1988: Gold Medal for Science and Technology from the Italian Prime Minister
- 1988: title of "Grande Ufficiale" from the President of the Italian Republic
- 1994: W. Wallace McDowell Award "For the development of the Silicon Gate Process, and the first commercial microprocessor."
- 1994: Laurea honoris causa in Computer Science from the University of Milan (Italy).
- 1996: Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
- 1996: a Lifetime Achievement Award by P.C. Magazine for "technical excellence".
- 1997: Kyoto Prize, with M. Hoff, S. Mazor and M. Shima
- 1996: inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
- 1997: George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award by the American Computer Museum, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
- 1997: Masi Civilta' Veneta Prize
- 2001: Dr. Robert Noyce Memorial Award by the Semiconductor Industry Association, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
- 2003: Laurea honoris causa in Electronic Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy)
- 2003: AeA/Stanford Executive Institute Award for Outstanding Achievement in the High Tech Industry by an Alumnus
- 2006: European Inventor of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award by EPO (European Patent Office)
- 2007: Laurea honoris causa in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pavia (Italy)
- 2008: Laurea honoris causa in Electronic Engineering from the University of Palermo (Italy)
- 2009: Laurea honoris causa in Computer Sciences from the University of Verona (Italy)
- 2009: Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for his work as part of the team that developed the Intel 4004, the world's first commercial microprocessor."
- 2009: National Medal of Technology and Innovation from U.S. President Barack Obama
- 2011: The 2011 George R. Stibitz Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Computer Museum (Bozeman, MT): "For foundational contributions to the development of the modern technological world, including the MOS silicon gate technology that led to the realization of the world's first Microprocessor in 1971."
Source: the book written by Angelo Gallippi titled: Faggin, Il padre del chip intelligente (Faggin, the father of the intelligent chip). Editor Adnkronos, Rome, first edition September 2002, covers the above-mentioned awards (pp. 279–285). Its second edition, February 2012, titled Federico Faggin, il padre del microprocessor (Federico Faggin, the father of the microprocessor). Editor Tecniche nuove, Milan, covers also the topic of Faggin's interest in consciousness and his Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation (pp. 182–187). Angelo Gallippi, a physicist, has been teaching Scientific and Technical Communication at the University La Sapienza in Rome. He is author of a dozen books and of an English-Italian Dictionary of informatics and multimedia (text translated from book cover in Italian)
- 2012: Global Information Technology Award from the President of the Republic of Armenia.
- 2012: Honorary Ph.D from the Polytechnic University (Armenia)
- 2012: Premio Franca Florio, given by Ministro Francesco Profumo and Prof. Ing. Patrizia Livreri
- 2013: Honorary Ph.D in science from Chapman University (CA)
- 2014: Enrico Fermi Award, given by the Italian Society of Physics: "For the invention of the MOS silicon gate technology that led him to the realization in 1971 of the first modern microprocessor."
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- See also: Faggin, F., Klein, T., and Vadasz, L. (1968). Insulated Gate Field Effect Transistor Integrated Circuits With Silicon Gates. Paper presented by Faggin at the IEDM Conference, 23 October 1968
- Faggin, F., Klein T. (1970). Silicon Gate Technology. Solid State Electronics, Vol. 13, pp. 1125–1144.
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- Faggin, Faggin (2015), "The MOS silicon gate technology and the first microprocessors", La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento della Società Italiana di Fisica, 38 (12): 575–620
- Shima M., Faggin F., Ungermann, R. (1976). Z80: Chip Set Heralds Third Microprocessor Generation. Electronics, 19 August 1976.
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- Faggin, Federico; et al. (18 June 1985). "United States Patent 4524244: Digital and Voice Telecommunication Apparatus". FreePatentsOnline. USPTO. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Federico Faggin.|
- "Executive Profile" from Foveon.com
- IEEE Global History Network Biography of Federico Faggin
- Oral History of Federico Faggin Computer History Museum. Recorded 2004-05
- Busicom Calculator Engineering Prototype (Gift of Federico Faggin to the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California).
- on YouTube
- "Computers Still No Match for Human Intelligence" Video and article interview with Federico Faggin 40 years after the release of the Intel 4004 microprocessor