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  • Microprocessor - Wikipedia
  • Modern microprocessors - Military & Aerospace Electronics



In November of 1971, a company called Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (U.S. Patent #3,821,715), invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stanley Mazor. After the invention of integrated circuits revolutionized computer design, the only place to go was down -- in size that is. The Intel 4004 chip took the integrated circuit down one step further by placing all the parts that made a computer think (i.e. central processing unit, memory, input and output controls) on one small chip.

In 1968, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were two unhappy engineers working for the Fairchild Semiconductor Company who decided to quit and create their own company at a time when many Fairchild employees were leaving to create start-ups. People like Noyce and Moore were nicknamed the "Fairchildren".

Robert Noyce typed himself a one-page idea of what he wanted to do with his new company, and that was enough to convince San Francisco venture capitalist Art Rock to back Noyce's and Moore's new venture. Rock raised $2.5 million dollars in less than 2 days.

In November of 1971, a company called Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (U.S. Patent #3,821,715), invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stanley Mazor. After the invention of integrated circuits revolutionized computer design, the only place to go was down -- in size that is. The Intel 4004 chip took the integrated circuit down one step further by placing all the parts that made a computer think (i.e. central processing unit, memory, input and output controls) on one small chip.

In 1968, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were two unhappy engineers working for the Fairchild Semiconductor Company who decided to quit and create their own company at a time when many Fairchild employees were leaving to create start-ups. People like Noyce and Moore were nicknamed the "Fairchildren".

Robert Noyce typed himself a one-page idea of what he wanted to do with his new company, and that was enough to convince San Francisco venture capitalist Art Rock to back Noyce's and Moore's new venture. Rock raised $2.5 million dollars in less than 2 days.

Trying to answer to this question, we will stumble upon again into the same story as with the inventions of the integrated circuit , the transistor , and many others gadgets, reviewed in this site. Several people got the idea almost at the same time, but only one got the all glory, and he was the engineer Ted Hoff (together with the co-inventors Mazor and Faggin) at Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, California.

In 1950s and 1960s the microprocessor CPUs (Central Processing Units) were built with many chips or with a few LSI (large scale integration) chips. In the late 1960s, many articles had discussed the possibility of a computer on a chip. However, all concluded that the integrated circuit technology was not yet ready. Ted Hoff was probably the first to recognize that Intel's new silicon-gated MOS technology might make a single-chip CPU possible if a sufficiently simple architecture could be developed.

In 1969, the Four-Phase Systems, a company just established by several former Fairchild engineers, lead by Lee Boysel, designed the AL1—an 8-bit bit slice chip, containing eight registers and an ALU (see the photo below). At the time, it formed part of a nine-chip, 24-bit CPU with three AL1s. Actually, the AL1 was called a microprocessor much later (in 1990s) when, in response a litigation by Texas Instruments, a demonstration system was constructed where a single AL1 formed part of a courtroom demonstration computer system, together with an input-output device, RAM and ROM. AL1 was shipped in data terminals from that company as early as 1969.

In November of 1971, a company called Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (U.S. Patent #3,821,715), invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stanley Mazor. After the invention of integrated circuits revolutionized computer design, the only place to go was down -- in size that is. The Intel 4004 chip took the integrated circuit down one step further by placing all the parts that made a computer think (i.e. central processing unit, memory, input and output controls) on one small chip.

In 1968, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were two unhappy engineers working for the Fairchild Semiconductor Company who decided to quit and create their own company at a time when many Fairchild employees were leaving to create start-ups. People like Noyce and Moore were nicknamed the "Fairchildren".

Robert Noyce typed himself a one-page idea of what he wanted to do with his new company, and that was enough to convince San Francisco venture capitalist Art Rock to back Noyce's and Moore's new venture. Rock raised $2.5 million dollars in less than 2 days.

Trying to answer to this question, we will stumble upon again into the same story as with the inventions of the integrated circuit , the transistor , and many others gadgets, reviewed in this site. Several people got the idea almost at the same time, but only one got the all glory, and he was the engineer Ted Hoff (together with the co-inventors Mazor and Faggin) at Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, California.

In 1950s and 1960s the microprocessor CPUs (Central Processing Units) were built with many chips or with a few LSI (large scale integration) chips. In the late 1960s, many articles had discussed the possibility of a computer on a chip. However, all concluded that the integrated circuit technology was not yet ready. Ted Hoff was probably the first to recognize that Intel's new silicon-gated MOS technology might make a single-chip CPU possible if a sufficiently simple architecture could be developed.

In 1969, the Four-Phase Systems, a company just established by several former Fairchild engineers, lead by Lee Boysel, designed the AL1—an 8-bit bit slice chip, containing eight registers and an ALU (see the photo below). At the time, it formed part of a nine-chip, 24-bit CPU with three AL1s. Actually, the AL1 was called a microprocessor much later (in 1990s) when, in response a litigation by Texas Instruments, a demonstration system was constructed where a single AL1 formed part of a courtroom demonstration computer system, together with an input-output device, RAM and ROM. AL1 was shipped in data terminals from that company as early as 1969.

Unlike PCs, which have a wide range of programming languages available, microcontrollers have only a few programming languages available -- C programming language, Basic programming language, Forth programming language, assembly language, and (on a few microcontrollers) Python programming language.

Microcontrollers and microprocessors only understand machine code and compilers regardless of type all translate the program to machine code. Machine code, while tedious to learn and device specific, is the most efficient.

Many hobbyists use microcontrollers, sometimes even multiple microcontrollers, in their projects . Prices have fallen below $5 for the cheapest 32-bit microcontroller and below $1 for the cheapest 8-bit microcontroller.

In November of 1971, a company called Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (U.S. Patent #3,821,715), invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stanley Mazor. After the invention of integrated circuits revolutionized computer design, the only place to go was down -- in size that is. The Intel 4004 chip took the integrated circuit down one step further by placing all the parts that made a computer think (i.e. central processing unit, memory, input and output controls) on one small chip.

In 1968, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were two unhappy engineers working for the Fairchild Semiconductor Company who decided to quit and create their own company at a time when many Fairchild employees were leaving to create start-ups. People like Noyce and Moore were nicknamed the "Fairchildren".

Robert Noyce typed himself a one-page idea of what he wanted to do with his new company, and that was enough to convince San Francisco venture capitalist Art Rock to back Noyce's and Moore's new venture. Rock raised $2.5 million dollars in less than 2 days.

Trying to answer to this question, we will stumble upon again into the same story as with the inventions of the integrated circuit , the transistor , and many others gadgets, reviewed in this site. Several people got the idea almost at the same time, but only one got the all glory, and he was the engineer Ted Hoff (together with the co-inventors Mazor and Faggin) at Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, California.

In 1950s and 1960s the microprocessor CPUs (Central Processing Units) were built with many chips or with a few LSI (large scale integration) chips. In the late 1960s, many articles had discussed the possibility of a computer on a chip. However, all concluded that the integrated circuit technology was not yet ready. Ted Hoff was probably the first to recognize that Intel's new silicon-gated MOS technology might make a single-chip CPU possible if a sufficiently simple architecture could be developed.

In 1969, the Four-Phase Systems, a company just established by several former Fairchild engineers, lead by Lee Boysel, designed the AL1—an 8-bit bit slice chip, containing eight registers and an ALU (see the photo below). At the time, it formed part of a nine-chip, 24-bit CPU with three AL1s. Actually, the AL1 was called a microprocessor much later (in 1990s) when, in response a litigation by Texas Instruments, a demonstration system was constructed where a single AL1 formed part of a courtroom demonstration computer system, together with an input-output device, RAM and ROM. AL1 was shipped in data terminals from that company as early as 1969.

Unlike PCs, which have a wide range of programming languages available, microcontrollers have only a few programming languages available -- C programming language, Basic programming language, Forth programming language, assembly language, and (on a few microcontrollers) Python programming language.

Microcontrollers and microprocessors only understand machine code and compilers regardless of type all translate the program to machine code. Machine code, while tedious to learn and device specific, is the most efficient.

Many hobbyists use microcontrollers, sometimes even multiple microcontrollers, in their projects . Prices have fallen below $5 for the cheapest 32-bit microcontroller and below $1 for the cheapest 8-bit microcontroller.

Aerospace and defense professionals, in the quest to do more with less, have turned their attentions to infusing systems new and old with robust, capable, efficient microprocessors. A wealth of high-performance computing options exist, however, causing systems architects and systems integrators to consider closely all options when selecting silicon.

A set of characteristics is fairly common across most aerospace and defense applications, whether an airborne platform, tactical radio, radar, or munition; yet, the value, or priority, of these characteristics can vary significantly depending on the application, explains Jason Moore, director of aerospace and defense applications engineering at Xilinx Inc. in San Jose, Calif., which specializes in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Performance-including throughput, interrupt latency, and cache size and speeds-is an important consideration, as is the board support package (BSP) for real-time operating systems (RTOSs) and device drivers (e.g., a DO-178B RTOS for avionics applications), Moore says. Memory and I/O interfaces, cost, and anti-tamper and physical security characteristics should also be considered.



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