Oral History of Eli Harari

Interviewed by George Alexy and Jim Porter on 2011-06-15 in Mountain View, California, X6066.2011

This interview with Eli Harari describes his early background, growing up in Israel after WWII and education at Cambridge in England. He came to the US, received a Physics degree from Princeton, having done research into failure modes of semiconductors in outer space. He took this knowledge to Hughes Aircraft where he played a lead role in the development of the first EEPROM. With this background, he was then recruited to work at Intel. The interview covers his subsequent move to Synertek, and his founding of two startups: Wafer Scale Integration and San Disk, including lessons learned from failures and triumphs of each. The most notable of the latter was the development of System Flash. Mr. Harari describes how they took a fundamentally limited-life technology, EEPROM, and turned it into a revolutionary storage technology which has fueled the mobile revolution over the past 20 years. During that time, SanDisk grew the complexity of their chips from 4 megabits to 64 gigabits and reduced the cost by 30,000x.

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