Federico Faggin was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1941. He received his doctorate (Laurea) in physics from the University of Padua (1965). He began working at SGS Fairchild in Italy, where he developed their first MOS process technology and their first integrated circuits (ICS). In 1968, he moved to Palo Alto, California, to work at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he created MOS silicon gate technology, the basis of all modern CMOS integrated circuits.
In 1970, he joined Intel, where he led implementation of a new method for random logic chip design using silicon gate technology. With help from Masatoshi Shima, he designed and developed all four ICS in Intel's groundbreaking MCS-4 microprocessor family, the world's first commercial microprocessor.
Faggin left Intel at the end of 1974 to found Zilog with Ralph Ungermann. At Zilog, he conceived and architected the z80 microprocessor and directed its development. He was Zilog's president and CEO until 1980. In 1986, he cofounded and was CEO of Synaptics, a company pioneering in touchpads and touchscreens. He later became president and CEO of Foveon Inc., a company making image sensors, from 2003 until the company was acquired in 2008.
Faggin shares the Kyoto Prize (1997) with Hoff, Mazor, and Shima and the National Medal of Technology (2009) with Hoff and Mazor.