Intel 4004: the first microchip on the market turns 50

Intel 4004: il primo microchip in commercio compie 50 anni thumbnail

Today, November 15, 2021, Intel celebrates its 50th anniversary from Intel 4004, the world’s first microprocessor available on the market. In 1971 this very first commercially available chip paved the way for the computer revolution that we are still experiencing today. The first “electronic brain” made it possible to use smartphones, save data on the cloud and many other indispensable parts of life today.

Intel 4004: the first microchip on the market turns 50

Pat GelsingerIntel CEO explained that: “This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 4004 chip. Think about what we have achieved in the last half century. This is a sacred time for the world of technology. This is the component that really made IT take off! “

The success of the 4004 chip established the design methodology a random logic, the foundation of future generations of processors. So much so that we can draw a red thread in the evolution of microprocessors that today allow us to watch a streaming TV series on our smartphone, detect arrhythmias with smartwatches and make video calls all over the world from our smart display. All starting from the chip you see in this image.

Federico Faggin, the former Intel employee scientist who designed the Intel 4004 with Tedd Hoff e Stan Mazor, says he was confident of the chip’s success as early as fifty years ago. “[Guardando al] 1970, it was clear that microprocessors would change the way we design systems, moving from hardware to using software. But the speed with which the microprocessors have developed and have been adopted over time is truly amazing “.

The first commercial chip was requested in 1969 by Nippon Calculating Machine Corp. It was used to enable the calculations of his prototype for engineering, the Busicom 141-PF. Faggin and his team adapted the original plans of 12 custom circuits, making a set of four chips including the CPU 4004. Which, as big as a fingernail, had the same computing power as the first computer built in 1946, which took up an entire room.

Today Intel continues to innovate in the world of processors with hybrid architectures and even with the new horizon of quantum computing. With novelties such as the cryogenic solution Intel Horse Ridge II and the neuromorphic computation of the chip Intel Loihi 2. After fifty years from 4004, the research does not stop.