Silicon Valley is not known for paying much attention to itself. The Computer History Museum aims to change that, and recently it held a fund raiser that also profiled four top technologists. There is a video of that event at the end of this post.
It was a great event, I took my son Matt with me so that he could see some of our Silicon Valley's living history:
Morris Chang helped create the fabless chip industry. And in doing so, he created a massive innovation platform by enabling small bands of chip designers to timeshare production lines at fabs. Chip companies no longer needed to own and maintain their own chip fabs, which were quickly becoming the most capital intensive manufacturing facilities of our industrial age.
John Hennessy helped develop the RISC microprocessor, whose features are found in all modern microprocessors. As president of Stanford University, he made huge contributions to educating generations of engineers in new techniques in chip design. His work at Stanford university helped create a student body that has gone on to found many of Silicon Valley's largest companies. That work has helped generate huge licensing revenues for the university.
David Patterson (seen in a kilt in the video) made important contributions to microprocessor design and RAID data storage technologies. As head of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley, he has helped educate generations of computer engineers.
[By honoring John Hennessy and David Patterson at the same time, the Computer History museum was also paying tribute to Silicon Valley's luck in being on the doorstep of what Mr Hennessy called: the best private university (Stanford) and the best public university (Berkeley). Although these days it seems its Stanford or MIT when it comes to this generation of Silicon Valley companies.]
Charles Thacker helped create the personal computer. His work at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center led to the Alto, the machine that inspired Apple Computer and featured a windows graphical user interface. He co-developed Ethernet and also the laser printer.