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Say Happy Birthday to the Original Microprocessor

Business Technology | November 18, 2011

The Intel 4004 was the first CPU on a single chip as well as the first available to the commercial market. This week it celebrated it’s 40th birthday! We would like to say thank you to the microprocessor that grandfathered the CPUs we have today. A CPU is the brain of a computer. Known as the central processing unit, every bit of information in or out of a computer goes though the CPU. Just imagine what the Intel 4004, a tiny yet powerful CPU, did for the computing world in 1971. CPUs have come a considerable ways since then, but they continue to be a huge part of our everyday lives.

Created as the processor for a calculator, the Intel 4004 quickly became the brain of countless other devices. Though CPUs today are exceedingly more powerful than their ancestor, our world would look significantly different if it wasn’t for the Intel 4004’s influence.  Everyday devices such as traffic lights, laptops, and cellphones would not exist without a CPU. The Intel 4004 has had a massive impact on computer science leading us into the modern world. You can see the evolving role of the CPU in technology here.

We can’t acknowledge the Intel 4004 without introducing the engineers responsible for developing it. Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stan Mazor comprised the team in charge of the design and development of the Intel 4004. It’s easy to lose sight of the humble origins of today’s technological world, but the Intel 4004 reminds us of how far we have come.

So take a moment to appreciate the little microprocessor that grandfathered the technological world of today.


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