The medal is given “for exceptional contributions to the microelectronics industry”.
The citation for the award to Makimoto states it is for: “For technical and managerial leadership in CMOS memory and microprocessors.”
Makimoto led Hitachi’s transformation of CMOS from a low power/ low density/low performance process into a low power/ dense/ high performance technology which displaced NMOS as the industry’s mainstream process technology.
Makimoto received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tokyo, his Master’s from Stanford and his PhD from the University of Tokyo.
He joined Hitachi in 1959 and became head of microchip development in 1966.
In recognition of his work in that position he received the Ichimura Award in 1973 and was nominated an IEEE Fellow in 1997.
He was appointed President of Hitachi Semiconductors in 1997. In 2000 he joined Sony, serving variously as Corporate Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Research Fellow.
In 1996 he headed the delegation of the EIAJ (Electronic Industries Association Japan) which negotiated an extension to the US-Japan Semiconductor Trade Agreement and established the World Semiconductor Council.
Makimoto became well known for his observation, dubbed ‘Makimoto’s Wave’, which plots the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry as it alternates between customisation and standardisation.
In the course of writing two books – ‘Living with the Chip’ and ‘Digital Nomad’ – with Makimoto, we became friends and I admired him for his original thinking, his gift for clarifying complexity, his free spirit and, most of all, because he was always such fun to be with.
Previous winners of the Robert Noyce Medal include Morris Chang, Wilf Corrigan, Pasquale Pistorio and Aart de Geus.