The Microprocessor: A Computer Revolution

A microprocessor is a small silicon chip — rectangular in shape — and usually one square inch. It is made up thousands of transistors that are inter-connected with one another by electronic means. Microprocessors are embedded on motherboards. The function of a microprocessor is to control the arithmetic and logical operations of the Central Processing Unit (CPU). It has two parts: the Control Unit (CU), and the Arithmetic and Logical Unit (ALU). Control Unit: The control unit fetches instructions from the main memory and processes them. The control unit also controls other devices in the computer. Arithmetic Unit: This unit performs the arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This unit is so efficient that there is no possibility of errors. It returns perfect calculations. Logical Unit: The logical Unit performs the logical operations of the CPU. The logical operations include less than “<”, greater than “>”, equal to “=”, and not equal to “≠”. These operators are called Boolean operators and they are widely used in programming languages. The Logical Unit performs its task with 100 percent efficiency and accuracy. The microprocessor is a fundamental part of a personal computer, laptop, notebook and mobile device. Today, microprocessors are classified in terms of their speed and generation. Evolution of Microprocessor The evolution of the microprocessor is classified into five generations — 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Now, we will discuss these generations one by one. 1st Generation Microprocessors: They were introduced in 1972. This microprocessor processed instructions one by one — such as fetching, decoding and executing. 2nd Generation Microprocessors: The second generation microprocessors had the advantage of a transistor. An example of this type of microprocessor is the MC-68000 Motorola processor. 3rd Generation Microprocessors: They were introduced in 1978 and were referred to as the Intel-8086 and Zilog-Z8000. They were 16 bit microprocessors with pretty good performance. 4th Generation Microprocessors: They were manufactured with outstanding designs along with many different transistors. Examples of these processors are Motorola-88100 and Intel 80960-CA. 5th Generation Microprocessors: They can perform de-coupled super-scalar processing. They consist of ten million transistors. Their performance is mind-blowing. Applications of Microprocessor Business Calculator: It was invented in 1971. The Unicom-141P calculator was based on a microprocessor with many features. Commodore PET: It was developed in 1971 and had the reputation of being the “all in one” home-computer. It has great efficiency and speed. Washing Machine: The microchip-controlled washing machine was invented in 1977 and rapidly dominated the market-place. Osborne 1 Laptop: Osborne 1 was developed in 1981 and weighed 10.7-kgs. It was considered the grandfather of laptops. MP3 Player: It was invented in 1997 and is based on microprocessors. Apple iPod: It was developed in 2001. It was an amazing product of Apple with outstanding performance. Microprocessors are revolutionary products of Information Technology. Today, almost every person in the world is capitalizing on this technology. Microprocessors have high processing speeds, great efficiency and perfect accuracy that help us to achieve our goals for technology.