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The Rousing History of Microprocessors

Dec 16, 2007
Computers are all around us. But did you know that at the heart of computers are microprocessors. Most people would find it unbelievable to know the amount of processing power this little chip has. Space is one of the biggest limiting factors in actually assembling a computer at a reasonable price. By being able to pack more and more processing power into a smaller area, the strength of modern computing is able to expand exponentially through advanced chip development.

Many Novembers ago, Intel made the first microprocessor. This little chip was crucial to new development. Integrated circuit technology had opened the door for advanced computing that was only limited by the amount of chips that could put together.

The greatest thing about this first processor was that it put the complete processing power in one chip. This small microprocessor contained the full power of the central processing unit while also providing for the computer's basic memory and the control methods for incoming and outgoing data. This progress was simply amazing when one considers that the company was just a little start up by two engineers.

There was actually a pretty commonplace contract that led to the development of this chip. They received one of their first jobs to design twelve different computer chips for Busicom, a small Japanese company. They wanted designs for chips that would provide for keyboard scanning functionality, controlling the display on the monitor and the printer and just about anything else that their brand of calculator hoped to do. There was just one big issue that they had to overcome.

In addition to the problem of money, there was another piece to the jigsaw puzzle that needed to be placed right. They lacked the sheer manpower necessary to actually design twelve chips in the time frame. So, their engineers figured out a way to build one chip that was able to do every single function. Busicom liked the idea and decided to fund the project. Time passed and a new chip that had more power than any of the old computers was developed.

Intel then got back the intellectual property and other rights by buying back the chip design from their Japanese customer. The sky was the limit from this point onward. This basic technological idea has been applied time and time again to give us electronics capable of amazing power and ability.

Early journeys in space had very limited processors. Today, calculators have more powerful chips. The shrinking of this technological power has worked perfectly alongside the development of many other electronic parts to make everyday life just a little bit easier for everyone. In just the time span of about 40 years, we have advanced to computers that are almost able to mimic true human intelligence.

These advancements in micro processing have improved all of our lives in ways that we may not even realize. With wireless technology and shrinking package sizes, we are truly masters of the computing domain.
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