Back in November 1971, a little chip known as the Intel 4004 has been released into the market. 50 years later, the brand that created it is now one of the leading giants in the manufacturing scene in terms of computing components. Nippon Calculating Machine Corp. approached Intel about designing a set of integrated circuits for its engineering prototype calculator, the Busicom 141-PF. With original designers Tedd Hoff and Stan Mazor taking up the job, the team designed a set of 4 chips which one of them is the 4004, the size of a human fingernail back then, harnesses the same computing power as the first electronic computer in 1946 that filled an entire room.
Being the first child of the microprocessor portfolio, the 4044 basically is Intel’s first step into the silicon brain market as they didn’t start off as their core business but rather storage-related offerings. The 4044 can go as far as 1969 where
Therefore, the convergence of super-advanced technologies like ubiquitous computing, pervasive connectivity, cloud-to-edge infrastructure, and artificial intelligence that we see today would not be achieved as early as 2021 if the original plan of the development of 4044 was not executed. Looking at the speed of the industry shifting from hardware-based systems to software-based, Tedd Hoff and Stan Mazor recall the feelings of astonishment and positivity when they saw how the world of computing is changing based on a single product and business decision.
50 years later, Intel is moving forward relentlessly with the rise of quantum computing and related projects including the cryogenic Intel Horse Ridge II and neuromorphic Intel Loihi 2 to usher into the new territories and possibly recreate the legendary moment back then: Fundamentally changing the basis of computing.