Together, four engineers (Dr. Faggin, Dr. Hoff, Mr. Mazor and Dr. Shima) developed the world's first microprocessor, the 4004. The four pioneers demonstrated that by integrating a few semiconductor chips, a microcomputer could be created which could perform a wide variety of functions. This paved the way for the development of all microprocessor-controlled industrial equipment and consumer electronics, contributing immeasurably to the creation of new industries, and to the progress of modern society.
“Impact of LSI on Future Minicomputers” IEEE
“The New LSI Components” Compcon
“The One-Chip CPU, Computer or Component” WESCON
“The MCS-4 An LSI Microcomputer System” with Faggin, F., Mazor, S., Shima, M. and other, IEEE
3,810,127 Programmable Circuit and Method of Programming
3,821,715 Memory System for Multi-Chip Digital Computer with Faggin, F. and Mazor, S.
“Single-Chip N-MOS Microcomputer Processes Signals in Rial Time”, Electronics
“A History of Microprocessor Development at Intel” IEEE Micro
“The History of the 4004” with Faggin, F., Mazor, S. and Shima, M., IEEE Micro
A group of four engineers, Dr. Federico Faggin, Dr. Marcian Edward Hoff, Jr., Mr. Stanley Mazor, and Dr. Masatoshi Shima, co-developed in 1971 the world’s first general-purpose microprocessor, the 4004, which had a great impact on modern society, bringing about drastic changes in industrial and social structures worldwide.
The 4004 had 2,300 transistors mounted on a single silicon chip, measuring 3mm*4mm. Yet the 4004 could perform functions equivalent to an early computer’s central processing unit (CPU), which was as large as a room.
By combining the 4004 microprocessor with memories to store data and instructions, and I/O registers, a totally new system, the microcomputer, was developed. By changing configurations and programs, microcomputers can comply, at high efficiency, with user demands in a great variety of applications; for instance they can process numeric and text characters and graphics, and control various equipment and systems. Just as the invention of transistors and IC’s radically innovated electronic technologies, the development of the 4004 opened the door to a new age of programmable electronic components, and triggered further technological development. As a result, system construction technologies began to employ organic utilization of hardware and software, which in turn triggered the so-called “Second Industrial Revolution.” A quarter of a century has passed since the debut of the 4004, during which time data width increased from 4 bits to 8 bits, then to 16 bits, 32 bits, and most recently to 64 bits, along with extraordinary improvements in a machine’s computing and processing power. This amazing progress is attributable to the design concept of the first microprocessor, the 4004.
Today, microprocessors are incorporated in various tools and appliances used in our daily lives, including personal computers, consumer electronics products, automobiles, and telecommunication and medical equipment. In addition, microprocessors are widely employed in industrial machinery, especially machine tools. Of all devices invented by humans, nothing has had greater impact in such a short period of time than the microprocessor. The progress of electronics we now enjoy was triggered by the development of the 4004; electronic technology would not have developed as it did, were it not for the achievements of the four engineers: two Americans, one Italian, and one Japanese. For these reasons, The Inamori Foundation is pleased to bestow upon Dr. Federico Faggin, Dr. Marcian Edward Hoff, Jr., Mr. Stanley Mazor, and Dr. Masatoshi Shima the 1997 Kyoto Prizes in Advanced Technology.
While the 20th century has seen enormous technological progress, it has also seen enormous human population growth. That population growth has led to heavy demands on the finite resources of our planet. While some people see technology as a negative influence and wish to revert to a simpler life style, that simpler life style is just too inefficient to be tolerated any more. Our only hope is to both limit further population growth and make use of technology to use our limited resources more efficiently.
One of the most powerful tools developed during the last century was the digital computer. Digital computers are applicable to many areas of technology. The microprocessor reduced the cost of digital computers and made computing power available in a manner that allows computation to be built into many different types of systems.
The microprocessor also made possible the personal computer. The availability of computer networks such as the Internet has increased the appeal of personal computers to the general public. However, we should remember that Internet access is not the only usage for microprocessors. Embedded control microprocessors have many uses in appliances, automobiles, and as a part of many other systems, and help us to use resources more efficiently.
Continued progress in computers should lead to a variety of new features in the systems we use. Language translation could improve communication systems, pattern recognition should lead to the self-steering automobile. To ensure continued research into these embedded applications, we must continue to inspire our young people to enter the computing profession, and we must train these young computer scientists to view computers in their broadest perspective, not just to perceive them as network access devices.