• Aug 4, 1924
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

Born in Port Said, Egypt, he has distinguished himself as an engineer, innovator, entrepreneur and visionary in the field of fabrication processes for semiconductor devices and computer data security. He received his early formal training in Egypt, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Cairo University before coming to Purdue, where he studied mechanical engineering and received a Master's degree in 1947 and a Doctorate in 1949. He joined Bell Laboratories to investigate the surface properties of silicon semiconductors. By adopting a method of growing a layer of silicon dioxide on top of a silicon wafer, he was able to overcome the surface states that prevented electricity from reaching the semiconducting layer. This is known as surface passivation, a critical step that made possible the ubiquity of silicon integrated circuits, a key component of modern electronic devices. He then suggested that a field effect transistor (first envisioned in the 1920s and confirmed experimentally in the 1940s, but not yet achieved) be built of metal-oxide-silicon. He assigned the task to Dawon Kahng, a scientist in his group. He and Kahng announced their successful MOSFET at a 1960 conference. From Bell Laboratories he co-founded Hewlett Packard Associates, which provided Hewlett Packard with fundamental solid-state capabilities, and went on to help create Hewlett Packard Laboratories, directing its solid-state division. In 1973, he ventured out on his own and founded the Atalla Corporation to address the security problems of banking and financial institutions. He invented the technology that became the "Atalla Box," which still secures 80 percent of all automated teller machines worldwide. During that process, he invented the PIN system, which has become the standard form of identification in the banking industry. He merged his corporation with Tandem Computers in 1987 and retired in 1990. Retirement didn’t last long; however, as several major bank executives persuaded him to help focus security management on the Internet. Their concern was that they saw no innovation in the security industry that would create a useable environment for electronic commerce. So he proceeded to invent new, revolutionary approaches to enterprise security. He started another company, TriStrata, with a core of senior security, networking and software experts, to deliver a high-performance, globally scalable, secure information management system. This technology was specifically designed to provide the speed and performance necessary for secure electronic transactions on the Internet. In his latest venture as chairman of A4 Systems, he is using his vision of security, privacy and assurance in deploying systems to major academic, government and commercial customers, providing absolute security for sensitive information. He was honored as Purdue’s Distinguished Engineering Alumnus in 2002.
  • Date of Birth:

    Aug 4, 1924
  • Noted For:

    Co-inventor of the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), the most widely employed a type of integrated circuit and is considered to be the "Father of the PIN," because of his development of the Personal Identification Number system in information security management
  • Category of Achievement:

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Still Alive: