TitleItoh, Kiyoo oral history
|Fairbairn, Douglas, Interviewer|
|Itoh, Kiyoo, Interviewee|
PublisherComputer History Museum
Place of PublicationTokyo, Japan
DescriptionBorn into a family as the youngest of 10 children in 1941, Itoh-san found hard work the only way to survive in post-war Japan. To escape from a life of working in the fields, he set a goal to become an engineer. His sister helped support him through college. He attended Tohoku University, which was close to his hometown. He learned about semiconductors from Professor Jun-ichi Nishizawa, who had been studying this technology since 1949. Itoh earned a bachelors degree in 1963 and a PhD 16 years later.
He joined Hitachi upon graduation, where his first assignment was work on magnetic core, then magnetic thin-film memory. He finally switched to working on semiconductors in 1970. One of his first assignments was to go to Intel in Santa Clara, where he met with Robert Noyce to learn more about their newly announced 1K DRAM. Based on this and other developments, Hitachi management decided that semiconductor memory was the technology of the future. He immediately began work on a 4K DRAM, learning much of the technology from leading US companies at technical conferences. This memory was not successful, as it used a 3-transistor cell and was too large. Their 16K DRAM also had problems, but the 64K DRAM was a major success. One reason for the success was Itoh-san’s development of the “folded bit line”.
After leading Hitachi’s efforts through the 64Mbit DRAM generation, he switched his research focus to low-power design, an area in which he expects some exciting results to be announced in the near future.