How Big is Silicon Valley?

The size of Silicon Valley is difficult to determine because its boundaries are not specifically defined. The Valley comprises Santa Clara Valley and other cities. It includes San Jose City, the southern East Bay and the southern Peninsula.

Defining the Area

Some researchers state that the Valley is comprised of the San Francisco Bay Area’s southern part. It includes the cities at the west and east of it.

In other cases, the cities under the Bay are also included. Other cities that are included in the Valley are Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Livermore, Los Altos, Palo Alto and Cupertino.


The Valley can be found to the south portion of the San Francisco Bay. It was only the 1970s when the term came out. But even back during the 1900s, the place was renowned for being a technology hub. Leland Stanford was one of the earliest to conduct scientific experiments in the site. During World War I and II, the size of Silicon Valley made it a prime location for developing military technology.

Historical Background

As time passed by, the place became known for its colleges and universities. The place would attract innovators, inventors and technology pioneers. By the 1960s, the Valley had acquired a reputation for being a center of science and technology. Hewlett-Packard was one of the earliest companies to set up business in the Valley.

The company was established in the 1920s. During the 1950s, the silicon transistor was invented. This development saw several semiconductor firms come to the place. From that time on, the Valley became associated with computers.

Software Developers

The Valley is still a major semiconductor center. However, it is best known for its software and Internet companies. Many popular software, operating systems and user interfaces have been developed there. In the 1960s, Doug Engelbart invented the mouse while working at SRI (then known as Stanford Research Institute).

During the 1870s and 180s, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) developed the graphical user interfaces (GUIs), object-oriented programming, laser printers, PostScript and Ethernet. Steve Jobs would eventually hire many PARC personnel. This would lead to the development of the Mac GUI.

The size of Silicon Valley and its numerous enterprises made it the center of the Internet dot-com bubble. The bubble began in the middle of the 1990s and burst in the early 2000s. Even after the crash, the Valley has remained a technological center. There are still plenty of large technological companies in the area.

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