Intel 4004, the world’s first commercialized microprocessor, turns 50

On the 50th anniversary of the world’s first commercialized microprocessor, chipmaker Intel said on Monday that the “4004” processor paved the way for modern microprocessor-based computing – the “brains” that make nearly every computer possible. modern technologies, from the cloud to the edge. .

In 1969, Nippon Calculating Machine Corporation commissioned Intel to design a set of integrated circuits for its prototype engineering computer, the Busicom 141-PF.

Intel engineer Federico Faggin and his team adapted the original blueprints for 12 custom chips and designed a set of four chips – including the 4004 processor – that rose to the challenge.

When launched in November 1971, the 4004, the size of a human fingernail, delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which filled an entire room.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 4004 chip. Think about how much we’ve accomplished over the past half century. It is a sacred time for technology. This is what made IT take off! said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel.

The success of 4004 proved that it was possible to build complex integrated circuits and mount them on a chip the size of a fingernail.

His invention also established a new random logic design methodology, upon which subsequent generations of microprocessors would be built, before evolving to create the chips found in today’s modern devices, Intel said in a statement.

“[Looking back at] 1970, it was clear that microprocessors were going to change the way we design systems, from using hardware to software, ”said Faggin, who designed and produced the Intel 4004 with Tedd Hoff and Stan Mazor.

“But the speed at which microprocessors have developed over time and been adopted by industry was truly amazing,” he said.

The latest 12th generation Intel Core processors – which company executives revealed at the Intel Innovation event in October – will usher in a new era of computing.

The hybrid performance architecture of this new family represents an architectural change made possible by close co-engineering of software and hardware and will deliver new levels of leadership performance for generations, Intel said.

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