Topics: Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Nanotechnology, Solid-State Physics
It’s not exactly a wedding anniversary, but it is significant.
Fifty years ago this month, Intel introduced the first commercial microprocessor, the 4004. Microprocessors are tiny, general-purpose chips that use integrated circuits made up of transistors to process data; they are the core of a modern computer. Intel created the 12 mm2 chip for a printing calculator made by the Japanese company Busicom. The 4004 had 2,300 transistors—a number dwarfed by the billions found in today’s chips. But the 4004 was leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessors, packing the computing power of the room-sized, vacuum tube–based first computers into a chip the size of a fingernail. In the past 50 years, microprocessors have changed our culture and economy in unimaginable ways.
The microprocessor turns 50, Katherine Bourzac, Chemical & Engineering News