Sunlin Chou


Sunlin Chou
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal


The innovative technology development and manufacturing methods and leadership of Sunlin Chou and Youssef A El-Mansy propelled Intel Corporation to its position as an industry-leading manufacturer of logic devices and accelerated advancements in computing. Drs. Chou and El-Mansy stepped forward during the mid-1980s to meet the challenges of high-volume and high-yield manufacturing needed for long-term success in the microprocessor industry. The pair developed and implemented key organizational and process changes that transformed Intel into a logic technology leader. Their methodology for transitioning advanced technologies to mass production enabled Intel to introduce innovations in semiconductor processing including strained silicon, high-k/metal gate transistors, and tri-gate transistors. The leadership of Drs. Chou and El-Mansy played a major role in Intel’s ability to stay up to two generations ahead of competitors in rolling out new advances. To capture manufacturing benefits from reducing in-fabrication defects during the development stage, Drs. Chou and El-Mansy implemented the “Copy Exactly” methodology. With this method, the equipment and processes used at the development site in Oregon were precisely replicated at other manufacturing sites for quick production ramps with high yields. They also established multi-generation technology pipelines in which multiple teams worked in parallel to move innovations seamlessly and rapidly from exploratory research through development and into production. Using these methods, Drs. Chou and El-Mansy led Intel in the 1990s to achieve and maintain shorter two-year technology cycles, compared to the three-year cycles then prevalent in the industry. The advantages gained from accelerated silicon scaling and advancement of Moore’s Law contributed substantially to Intel’s leadership in microprocessors and logic products.

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Chou has been named to the Scientific American list of 50 Manufacturing Business Leaders (2002). In 2013 he was named co-recipient, along with Youssef A El-Mansy, of the IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal for "establishing a highly effective research-development manufacturing methodology that led to industry leadership in logic technology for advanced microprocessor products." He retired from Intel in 2005 as senior vice president and general manager of its Technology and Manufacturing Group.