Born in Vicenza, Italy, Federico Faggin received a Laurea degree in Physics, summa cum laude, from the University of Padua in 1965. In 1968 he moved to Silicon Valley, California, where he now lives. Throughout his career, Faggin has given life to several state-of-the-art products and technologies, either directly or through the several companies he founded and led. At the age of 19 he co-designed and built an experimental transistorized electronic computer at Olivetti, Italy (1961). While working for Fairchild Semiconductors, he developed the MOS Silicon Gate Technology (SGT) and designed the Fairchild 3708, the world’s first commercial IC (integrated circuit) with SGT (1968). The SGT gradually displaced the incumbent bipolar technology to be employed for nearly all ICs worldwide. It is still in use today.
Faggin joined Intel in 1970 where he designed the world’s first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (1971), and led the development of all early Intel microprocessors. Distinguished among them are the Intel 8008 (1972) and Intel 8080 (1974). At the end of 1974 Faggin started and directed his first company, Zilog, Inc., entirely dedicated to the emergent microprocessor and microcontroller market. The Zilog Z80 microprocessor (1976), and the Z8 microcontroller (1978) are still in volume production in 2020.
Faggin founded and directed Cygnet Technologies, Inc. (1982), a company that in 1984 introduced a pioneering personal communication product for voice, data, and electronic mail. He then founded and directed Synaptics, Inc. (1986) that initially developed experimental analog chips for the emulation of artificial neural network and then pioneered the Touchpad (1994) and the Touchscreen (1999), solutions that have revolutionized the way we interface with mobile devices. Today Synaptics is the world leader in human interface solutions. During the period 1999-2009, Faggin was Chairman of Synaptics and was also CEO of Foveon, Inc., the developer of advanced image sensors and digital cameras for mobile devices, during 2003-2008. Faggin is currently president of Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the scientific study of consciousness, an interest that has become a passionate full-time activity.
Federico Faggin has received many prizes and awards in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Distinguished among them are the Marconi Prize (1988), the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology (1997), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Patent Organization (2006), and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2009), from President Barack Obama. In 1996, Faggin was inducted in the National Inventor's Hall of Fame. He has also received many honorary degrees in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, including a PhD in Electronic Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Armenia (2012), a PhD in Science from Chapman University (2013), and a PhD in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pisa. Italy (2019). In 2019, Faggin published his autobiography SILICIO, through Mondadori, Italy’s premier book publisher, where it has been a bestseller. In 2021, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, SILICON will be available to english speaking audiences.