Evolution of the Microprocessor

The first programmable microprocessor made its debut in 1971 in a business calculator — the Unicom 141P. Since then, multiple generations of microprocessors have gone on to be the brains in a variety of everyday products, from gas pumps and traffic light controllers to some of history’s most profound moments, like the Apollo space missions and medical research into the human genome.

It would take up to one million original Intel 4004 chips to provide the effortless computing power we have all come to expect from today’s laptop. Using the old chips, today’s laptop measure roughly 23 feet by 10 feet, and cost about $150,000 a year to power!

The dramatic evolution of computing over the past few decades has unleashed wave after wave of innovation. Yet, we are still at the very early stages in the evolution of computing. Fueled by the relentless advancement of Moore’s Law, the pace of technological innovation is, in fact, accelerating.

Evolution of the Microprocessor