On Nov. 15, 1971, Intel launched the world’s first programmable microprocessor, the Intel® 4004.
Three Intel engineers – Federico Faggin, Stan Mazor and Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff – created the 4004. It was a defining moment in Intel’s history and would forever change the way computing technology impacts the world.
Today, Intel celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Intel® 4004, the world’s first commercially available microprocessor. With its launch in 1971, the 4004 paved the path for modern microprocessor computing – the “brains” that make possible nearly every modern technology, from the cloud to the edge. Microprocessors enable the convergence of the technology superpowers – ubiquitous computing, pervasive connectivity, cloud-to-edge infrastructure and artificial intelligence – and create a pace of innovation that is moving faster today than ever.
The 4004 is the pioneer microprocessor, and its success proved that it was possible to build complex integrated circuits and fit them on a chip the size of a fingernail. Its invention also established a new random logic design methodology, one that subsequent generations of microprocessors would be built upon, before evolving to create the chips found in today’s modern devices.
While the 4004 delivered the modern computing era through the design and production of the first commercially available microprocessor for a desktop calculator, the latest 12th Gen Intel® Core® processors – which company leaders revealed at the Intel Innovation event in October – will usher in a new era of computing. The performance hybrid architecture of this new family represents an architectural shift made possible by close co-engineering of software and hardware and will deliver new levels of leadership performance for generations. And with research in the fields like quantum computing, with the cryogenic Intel Horse Ridge solution, and neuromorphic computing, with the Intel Loihi 2 chip a half-century after the Intel 4004, Intel continues to innovate, explore new territories and push the limits of computing.
Today, we have so much more than a calculator in our pocket – thanks to the Intel 4004.