Photo of Federico Faggin

Federico Faggin

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Computer Science

For the conception, design and application of the first microprocessor, which was commercially adopted and became the universal building block of digital electronic systems, significantly impacting the global economy and people’s day-to-day lives.

Federico Faggin on what fascinates him about computers

If you were to track down the world’s first commercial microprocessor and look inside the circuits of the chip closely you might notice a tiny signature in one corner, the initials F. F.—Frederico Faggin.

Faggin was born in Vicenza, Italy in 1941 and went to a technical high school where he showed an interest in all things mechanical, particularly airplanes. His first and original passion was model planes, which led him into the subjects of electronics, and after finishing high school he went to work for Olivetti where he wound up heading an experimental project to build a computer. Finishing this project, Faggin returned for a physics degree from the University of Padua and then went on to work at Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel.

While at Fairchild, Faggin developed MOS silicon gate technology which allowed for self-aligning gates, a technological cornerstone of all modern integrated circuits in microprocessors. And at Intel, Faggin along with Marcian Hoff and Stan Mazor, developed the world’s first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004.

By Casey Samulski