Bill Gates honoured with Lifetime of Innovation Award

28th April 2022
Paige West

imec, a research and innovation centre in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, announces Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Founder of Breakthrough Energy, as the recipient of the Lifetime of Innovation Award 2022 for his impact on the computer software revolution.

He wrote user-friendly software that inspired the advent of personal computing, which businesses heavily rely on today. The advances in software in turn propelled the semiconductor industry forward, speeding up semiconductor scaling to increase compute power and reduce power consumption and cost. The presentation of the award and an interview with Bill Gates will be shown during the award ceremony on May 17 in Antwerp, at imec’s Future Summits.

“Bill Gates is truly a game-changer in personal computer software. He made his dream ‘a computer on every desktop and in every home’ come true, effectively changing the way we live and work. The software innovations he pioneered, boosted the semiconductor industry with improved computer power, less power consumption, better graphics, and a smaller footprint. They effectively fuelled Moore’s Law. Bill Gates’ amazing realisations, vision, and mission to create a more sustainable world for everyone, are an inspiration to all of us. It is an honour for imec and our global community to grant this award at our event,” states Luc Van den hove, President and CEO at imec.

The name Bill Gates is inextricably connected to Microsoft, the company he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1976 to develop programming languages and software for various systems. Microsoft created the PC DOS operating system which they delivered to IBM and introduced Microsoft Office in 1989. The codes they generated sparked the home computing explosion of the ’80s. Microsoft’s biggest product, Windows, now runs on 1.4 billion computers and is the dominant operating system in the world powering businesses, households, gaming and more. It enables people to connect, collaborate and create. The company has been on the forefront of the digital transformation for almost 40 years from the first operating systems to the advent of cloud computing.  

Since stepping down as Microsoft CEO, he has dedicated his time to several philanthropic initiatives through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the world and aims to fight poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Bill Gates also founded Breakthrough Energy, a network of entities and initiatives, including investment funds, non-profit and philanthropic programmes, and policy efforts all focused on addressing climate change and accelerating innovation.

Since 2015, imec’s Lifetime of Innovation award honours people who significantly advanced chip and digital technology. Previous laureates include Dr. Gordon Moore (Intel), Dr. Morris Chang (TSMC), Dr. Kinam Kim (Samsung), Dr. Irwin Jacobs (Qualcomm) and Martin van den Brink (ASML).

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