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.
“The MCS-4 An LSI Microcomputer System” with Hoff, M. E., Faggin, F., Shima, M. and other, IEEE
“An N-Channel 8-Bit Single Chip Microprocessor” with Faggin, F. and Shima, M., IEEE, ISSCC
3,821,715 Memory System for Multi-Chip Digital Computer with Faggin, F. and Hoff, M. E.
“Add First Division to your Next ASIC” with other, Electronic Design Magazine
“The History of the Microcomputer Invention and Evolution” Proceedings of the IEEE
“The History of the 4004” with Faggin, F., Hoff, M. E. 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.
My early experiences in student government helped me to learn about teamwork and making compromises. My engineering work required teamwork and compromising computer speed for chip size. My student government public speaking experiences helped me in my teaching career. My college education in mathematics and logic helped me to design computer arithmetic units. Although I started college with no particular profession in mind, my college work in computers brought me into industry as a programmer, where I learned about computer design and integrated circuits.
When I started my computer odyssey in college there were only a handful of books on computing, and the state of computer science was quite young. After 35 years I find thousands of books on computers and the field is expanding much more rapidly than I can keep up with. By accident I fell into the computer field and have stayed in this expanding and growing field. I still am inquisitive and take chances in new products and with new companies.
Our microcomputer invention has led to thousands of specialized uses and the personal computers are being used everywhere. I feel that the computers are often abused but that many lives are enhanced because of their use. At the Inventor’s Hall of Fame last year, a blind professor came up to me and thanked me for our microcomputer invention, which has enabled him to be productive on his computer even though he has no sight. I was very touched by his comments and his sincerity.
It was gratifying to have worked with these fine engineers and fellow laureates when we were together at Intel. It was great to have been part of an international team and to work in Europe. I am lucky to be surrounded by my sons, my brother and sister and my wife and to share my story with all of you today.
Thank you, Dr. Inamori and the Foundation, for this wonderful award.