The Robert N. Noyce Award was given now to the American engineer Robert Dennard for its fundamental invention made in 1956: the single-cell dynamic random access memory chip (or DRAM), a kind of semiconductor memory that stores data while the power is turned on.
He spent much of his career at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, New York. Dennard, 80 old now, was awarded the honor (in absentia) at the annual dinner for the Semiconductor Industry Association in San Jose, California. DRAM is built from a single transistor, with a single capacitor. It stores a single bit of data in one cell. It detects an electrical charge and refreshes it if the charge is too low. When you switch off the power, it no longer stores anything.DRAM alone is a $76.52 billion chunk of the semiconductor industry.
Robert Dennard (Credit photo: IBM)
“The beauty of DRAM is that it is the densest form of memory, and it is fast when it comes to accessing the memory,” Bijan Davari, IBM Fellow and vice president of research, said. The invention of DRAM paved the way for the further miniaturization of electronics. Dennard was also recognized for his contribution on “scaling theory,” which is also one of the foundations upon which the industry continues to evolve.