David Clark, an engineer from Surrey, has just received $10,000 from Intel for a 1965 copy of Electronics Magazine hidden under his floorboards, Intel confirmed on Friday.
The payment ends the search for an original copy of the magazine that contained the article on which Moore's Law was based.
An Intel spokesperson said the magazine had been kept under the floorboards in Clark's house for the past 40 years. "His wife had been encouraging him to throw the magazines away," said the spokesperson. Neither Clark nor his wife could immediately be reached for comment, but both are understood to be happy with the result.
Intel founder Gordon Moore wrote the article after being asked to predict what would happen in the next ten years. At the time, Moore was still working at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he was director of research and development; Intel had not yet been formed.
"1965 was very early days for integrated circuits," said Moore in a recent conference call from Hawaii. "They were mostly used in military applications where there were no cost concerns. The principal theme I wanted to get across (in the article) was that integrated circuits were the route to inexpensive circuits, and this would happen because the systems would get much more complex. At the time I wrote the article, integrated circuits had 30 components in them, and we had one in the lab that had 60 components."
Moore said that looking back he saw that the number of transistors had doubled every year. "I took this and extrapolated it for ten years to say the number of components would go from 60 to 60,000 on a chip. I frankly didn't expect it to be at all precise. But it fact it turns out to be much precise than it had any good reason for being, and a colleague dubbed it Moore's law."
Ten years later Moore modified the law to predict a doubling of components every eighteen months. In the conference call he attributed the popular version of the law, which says that computing power doubles every eighteen months, to David House who went on to run Bay Networks.