Even though 2001 was the worst-ever year for the semiconductor industry, Intel Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer on Monday exhorted geeks gathered at the No. 1 chipmaker’s technology conference here to keep investing and churning out new products and applications.

“Collectively we need to invest and bring new technology into the marketplace,” Craig Barrett told about 4,000 engineers and developers attending the Intel Developer Forum, which the company touts as “the world’s largest geekfest.”