On this day November 15, 1971

Intel released the 4004 4-bit central processing unit , the world’s first commercially available microprocessor,  employed a 10 μm silicon-gate enhancement load pMOS technology and could execute approximately 92,000 instructions per second.


Federico Faggin

Packaged in a 16-pin ceramic dual in-line package, the 4004 is the first computer processor designed and manufactured by chip maker Intel, which previously made semiconductor memory chips. The chief designers of the chip were Federico Faggin and Ted Hoff of Intel, and Masatoshi Shima of Busicom.

Federico Faggin is an Italian physicist/electrical engineer, principally responsible for the design of the microprocessor and responsible for leading the 4004 (MCS-4) project to its successful outcome and for promoting its marketing.

Federico Faggin was the only chip designer among the engineers participating to the MCS-4 project. He was also the only one with experience in MOS random logic and circuit design and with the crucial intimate knowledge of the new silicon gate process technology with self-aligned gates he had created at Fairchild in 1968.

Federico Faggin's Initial on the chip

Federico Faggin's Initial on the chip

At Fairchild, in 1968, Faggin also designed and manufactured the world’s first commercial IC using SGT – the Fairchild 3708.

As soon as he joined the Intel MOS Department he created a new random design methodology based on silicon gate, and contributed many technology and circuit design inventions that enabled a single chip microprocessor to become a reality for the first time. His methodology set the design style for all the early Intel microprocessors and later for the Zilog’s Z80.

On 15 November 2006, the 35th anniversary of the Intel 4004, Intel celebrated by releasing the chip’s schematics, mask works, and user manual.


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