The Intel 4004 came out in 1971 and was the first CPU on a single chip! Last month was its 40th birthday and we want so say a quick thank you to the microprocessor that has improved computing forever. A CPU, or central processing unit, is basically the brain of a computer. Every piece of information input or output by the computer goes through the CPU. So you can imagine the impression made by the invention of such a small yet powerful CPU. Generations of CPUs born from the Intel 4004 have been, and continue to be, an integral part of our everyday lives.

The Intel 4004 was originally created for a calculator, but it quickly led to technological leaps in computing. Many common gadgets would not exist if it weren’t for the powerful CPUs born from the Intel 4004. These products include laptops, streetlights, and cell phones. The Intel 4004 quite literally grandfathered many modern technologies. Check out this article showing the evolution of technology as a result of CPU.

We can’t acknowledge the Intel 4004 without introducing the engineers responsible for developing it. Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stan Mazor comprised the team in command of the design and development of the Intel 4004. It’s easy to lose sight of the humble origins of today’s technological world, but the Intel 4004 reminds us of how far we have come.

So lets take a minute to reflect on how influential the CPU that grandfathered computer science has been.