Jack Kilby, integrated circuit pioneer, dead at 81

One of the early innovators in the computing industry, Jack Kilby, died Monday at the age of 81.

Jack Kilby, whose work in the late 1950s on the integrated circuit paved the way for the modern computing era, died Monday in Dallas at the age of 81 after a brief struggle against cancer, Texas Instruments (TI) announced Tuesday.

The Nobel Prize-winning engineer developed one of the first integrated circuits, a collection of transistors organized to work on computing tasks. Kilby and TI built an integrated circuit in 1958, and filed for a patent for the device in 1959, a few months before Intel Corp. co-founder Robert Noyce also filed for an integrated circuit patent while employed by Fairchild Semiconductor Corp.

Fairchild and TI eventually settled their legal differences over the creation of the first integrated circuit and cross-licensed their technologies, allowing the semiconductor industry to flourish.

But Kilby was also responsible for several other groundbreaking inventions while employed by TI, including a handheld electronic calculator and a thermal printer, TI said in a release.

"Jack was one of the true pioneers of the semiconductor industry," said TI President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Templeton, in the release. "Every engineer, myself included, owes no small part of their livelihood to the work Jack Kilby did here at Texas Instruments. We will miss him."

Kilby worked for TI from 1958 to 1983, holding several management positions over his tenure. He was also a professor at Texas A&M University from 1978 to 1984.

He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his contributions to the development of the integrated circuit.

Kilby leaves two daughters, five grandaugthers and a son-in-law, TI said. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

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Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
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