Marcian E. "Ted" Hoff was born in Rochester, New York. He received a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1958, an MS degree in 1959 and a PhD degree in 1962, both from Stanford University. After receiving his PhD, he worked at Stanford as a research associate, performing research in adaptive systems.
In 1968 he became "manager of applications research." at the startup Intel Corporation, Although Intel was founded to develop semiconductor memory, in early 1969 it contracted to develop chips for a family of calculators to be sold under the name "Busicom." Hoff was assigned to be liaison for an engineering team from Japan. While helping the Japanese engineers transfer their design, Hoff become concerned about its economics and proposed a simpler design that included a simple general-purpose processor, programmed to perform various calculator functions. This alternate approach was accepted by the calculator company, and led to the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004.
In 1975, Hoff started a group to develop LSI for the telephone industry. That group produced the first commercially available monolithic telephone CODEC, a device which converts voice signals between analog and digital representations, and the first commercially available switched-capacitor filter for use with the CODEC.
In 1983, Hoff left Intel to become Vice President, Corporate Technology at Atari. Atari, owned by Warner Communications was sold in 1984, and Hoff became an independent consultant. In 1986, Teklicon was formed, and Hoff consulted using Teklicon as an agent until 1990, when he became an employee. He is still employed by Teklicon, with the title "Chief Technologist."
Hoff is listed as inventor or co-inventor on 17 U.S. Patents. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his role in the development of the microprocessor, including the Kyoto Prize, induction into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame, the Stuart Ballantine medal of the Franklin Institute, the IEEE Centennial Medal and Cledo Brunetti Award, the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, etc.
He is married to Judith R. Hoff. They have three adult daughters, Carolyn, Lisa and Jill.