Today, Intel is celebrating the 40th anniversary of world's first ever commercially available microprocessor, the 4004.
The 4004 was not just a microprocessor, but a landmark invention that greatly affected the world of computers. It changed the way people looked at computers and initiated Intel's shift from manufacturing memory products to something entirely new.
Just like the invention of many other landmark products, the birth of 4004 was an accidental outcome. A bunch of engineers trying to create something totally different ended up creating the first even commercially available microprocessor.
Federico Faggin and Ted Hoff were the men behind the 4004 processor. Faggin was the one who designed it and Hoff came up with the architecture. After building Hoff's architecture, Faggin was so proud he etched the initials "FF" on a side of 4004's design.
Even though the first commercially available microprocessor was not very powerful, it initiated an idea that changed the whole world. The company commented, "The 4004 was not very powerful, it was primarily used to perform simple mathematical operations in a calculator called Busicom," as reported (opens in new tab) by The Inquirer.