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By dotCore
via queue.acm.org
Submitted: Jul 24 2013 / 01:06

In November 1971, Intel introduced the world’s first single-chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004. It had 2,300 transistors, ran at a clock speed of up to 740 KHz, and delivered 60,000 instructions per second while dissipating 0.5 watts. The following four decades witnessed exponential growth in compute power, a trend that has enabled applications as diverse as climate modeling, protein folding, and computing real-time ballistic trajectories of angry birds. Today’s microprocessor chips employ billions of transistors, include multiple processor cores on a single silicon die, run at clock speeds measured in gigahertz, and deliver more than 4 million times the performance of the original 4004.
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