early 1970s and were used for electroniccalculators, using binary-coded decimal(BCD)arithmetic on 4-bitwords. Other embeddeduses of 4- and 8-bit microprocessors, such asterminals, printers,various kinds of automationetc, followed rather quickly. Affordable8-bit microprocessors with 16-bit addressing also led to the first general purposemicrocomputersin the mid-1970s.Computer processors were for a long period constructed out of small and medium-scaleICs containing the equivalent of a few to a few hundred transistors. The integration of thewhole CPU onto a single chip therefore greatly reduced the cost of processing capacity.From their humble beginnings, continued increases in microprocessor capacity haverendered other forms of computers almost completely obsolete (seehistory of computinghardware
), with one or more microprocessor as processing element in everything fromthe smallestembedded systemsandhandheld devicesto the largestmainframesandsupercomputers.Since the early 1970s, the increase in capacity of microprocessors has been known togenerally followMoore's Law, which suggests that the complexity of an integratedcircuit, with respect to minimum component cost, doubles every two years.
In the late1990s, and in the high-performance microprocessor segment, heat generation (TDP), dueto switching losses, static current leakage, and other factors, emerged as a leadingdevelopmental constraint.
The project that produced the4004 originated in 1969, whenBusicom, a Japanese calculator manufacturer, asked Intelto build a chipset for high-performance desktop calculators. Busicom original designcalled for a programmable chip set consisting of 7 different chips, three of them wereused to make a special-purpose CPU with its program stored in ROM and its data storedin shift register read-write memory.Ted Hoff ,the Intel engineer assigned to evaluate the project, believed the Busicom design could be simplified by using dynamic RAM storagefor data, rather than shift register memory, and a more traditional general-purpose CPUarchitecture. Hoff came up with a four–chip architectural proposal: a ROM chip for storing the programs, a dynamic RAM chip for storing data, a simple I/O device and a 4- bit central processing unit (CPU), which he felt could be integrated into a single chip,although he was not a chip designer. This chip would later be called the 4004microprocessor. The architecture and specifications of the 4004 were the results of theinteraction of Intel’s Hoff withStanley Mazor ,a software engineer reporting to Hoff, andwith Busicom engineer Masatoshi Shima.In April 1970 Intel hiredFederico Faggintolead the design of the four-chip set. Faggin, who originally developed the silicon gatetechnology (SGT) in 1968 at Fairchild Semiconductor (and also designed the world’sfirst commercial integrated circuit using SGT – the Fairchild 3708), had the correct background to lead the project since it was the SGT to make possible the design of a CPUinto a single chip with the proper speed, power dissipation and cost. Faggin alsodeveloped the new methodology for random logic design, based on silicon gate, thatmade the 4004 possible. Production units of the 4004 were first delivered to Busicom inMarch 1971, and shipped to other customers in late 1971.TheSmithsonian InstitutionsaysTIengineers Gary Boone and Michael Cochransucceeded in creating the first microcontroller (also called a microcomputer) in 1971. Theresult of their work was the TMS 1000 which went commercial in 1974.