1997 Kyoto Prize Laureates

Advanced Technology


Masatoshi Shima

/  Semiconductor Engineer

1943 -

President, Shima Co.,Ltd.

Commemorative Lectures

The Microprocessor and I: It All Starts with the Application


11 /11 Tue

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center


The Birth of Microprocessor and Future Possibility


11 /12 Wed

10:00 - 17:30

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center

Achievement Digest

Development of the World’s First Microprocessor

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.


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.


Born in Shizuoka City, Japan
B.Sc. Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University. Joined Busicom Inc.
Visited America and attended to development of Microprocessor with Intel Corp.
Ricoh Corp.
Intel Corp.
Zilog, Inc.
Director of Design Center, Intel Japan Corp.
Vice Chairman (later Chairman), V.M. Technology
President, Shima Co., Ltd.
Doctrate, Engineering, Tsukuba University
Selected Awards and Honors
"25 Years of Industry Achievement, Zilog Z80" with Faggin, F. and other, Fall Comdex
"The 1996 PC Magazine, Awards for Technical Excellence" with Hoff, M. E., Faggin, F. and Mazor, S., Fall Comdex
Major Works
Microcomputer no Tanjyo: Waga Seishun no 4004 (The Birth of the Microcomputer: 4004 in my young days), Iwanami Syoten, 1987.
Jisedai Microprocessor (The Next Generation of Microcomputers), Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 1995.
"The MCS-4 An LSI Microcomputer System" with others, IEEE
"An N-Channel 8-Bit Single Chip Microprocessor" with others, IEEE, ISSCC, 1974.
"Z-80 Chip Set Heralds Third Microprocessor Generation" with others, Electronics, 1976.
"Demysitfying Microprocessor Design" IEEE, 1979.
"The History of the 4004" with Hoff, M. E., Faggin, F. and Mazor, S., IEEE Micro, 1996.

Profile is at the time of the award.