• May 8, 1943
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

Born in Takasaki, Gunma, Japan, he is the inventor of flash memory while working for Toshiba around 1980. He attended high school in Takasaki, Japan and became interested in integrated circuits while in the Physics and Electronics group. He then attended Tohoku University at Sendai majoring in Electrical Engineering, and received his Ph.D. He joined Toshiba in 1971. He was supposed to be working on chips called DRAMs (for dynamic random-access memory), which became the workhorses of the personal-computer revolution. But such semiconductors retain data only when the computer is switched on. That wasn't good enough for him, though. His heart was set on memory chips that would preserve the user's data whether the power was on or off, thus eliminating the need for fragile hard-disk drives. Nobody anticipated such a development in the early 1980s, when he began bucking conventional wisdom on data storage. "Simply put, I wanted to make a chip that could one day replace all other memory technologies on the market," he explains. To pull it off, he drew four other engineers into an ad hoc team and came up with a blueprint. In 1981 he filed a patent for EEPROM -- short for electrically erasable, programmable read-only memory. One of his colleagues, Mr. Sho-ji Ariizumi simplified that to “flash memory” because the transistors' ability to erase data in a split second reminded him of a camera flash. Toshiba commercialized NAND flash in 1987. While at Toshiba, he also developed SAMOS memory. He was excited mostly by the idea of non-volatile memory, memory that would last even when power was turned off. He left Toshiba in 1994, and returned to Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan to be a Professor in semiconductor device technology. He was there for over 11 years and retired at age 63. Since then, he has been involved in semiconductor research and development, as well as consulting.
  • Date of Birth:

    May 8, 1943
  • Noted For:

    Inventor of flash memory which has carved out a path to a new era whereby consumers are able to carry videos, music, books and data with them wherever they go
  • Category of Achievement:

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