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In November of 1971, Intel released the Intel 4004. It was the first CPU on a single chip! This week it celebrated its 40th birthday. This tiny microprocessor changed computing forever, so we want to say thank you. The central processing unit, or CPU, retrieves and sends every bit of information use by a computer making it “the brain” of the computer. Imagine the impact a tiny CPU like the Intel 4004 made in the computing world. It inspired innovations and major advancements in CPU technology.

The Intel 4004 debuted as the processor for a calculator, but as this was the first microprocessor commercially available, it inspired some astounding leaps in computing. While CPUs today are far more powerful than their original ancestor, many common devices would not exist without the Intel 4004’s influence on computer science, including iPods, cell phones, streetlights, and laptops. Millions of technologies that we enjoy in our daily lives today have a CPU. This makes the Intel 4004, quite literally, the grandfather of modern technology. Check out this article to see the evolution of the CPU’s role in technology.

While we celebrate Intel 4004’s birthday, I want to recognize the engineers who created it. Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stan Mazor were in charge of the planning and development of the Intel 4004. This little microprocessor reminds us of the humble origins of the ever-changing world of technology.

So lets set aside a second to show our admiration for the little microprocessor that grandfathered the modern CPU.