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Integrated Circuit Technology – Past, Present, And Future

883 words - 4 pages


Whether you’re a student, gamer, physicist, accountant, or even a newborn baby; computers play a very integral role in all our lives. However, most people seem to take them for granted. Even though computers have only been around for about a hundred years, it’s hard to believe we once lived without them. So, how is that we went from computers the size of an apartment to computers that fit in a watch? Transistors! Transistors are the fundamental components in modern electronic devices (e.g., computer, video game, cell phone, radio and TV). The status quo in today’s society is “the more, the merrier”, but is that the case with transistors? If the past forty years are any indication, then, yes, the more transistors the merrier!
The first computer we most associate with today was invented in 1946. The E.N.I.A.C. or Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator, it was considered by most to be the first fully functional digital computer. Unlike modern computers the E.N.I.A.C. was the size of a large apartment, in part due to vacuum tubes, which were very similar to light bulbs. Imagine almost 20,000 light bulbs lit up in your house. Not only would your electric bill be a little higher than normal, but the heat generated from these tubes would be miserable. Vacuum tubes helped pave the way for the transistor, which was developed in 1954 at Bell Labs by Morris Tanenbaum. Webster’s dictionary defines a transistor as: a solid-state electronic device that is used to control the flow of electricity in electronic equipment and usually consists of a small block of a semiconductor (as germanium) with at least three electrodes. Computers are everywhere. Just because you don’t own a laptop or desktop computer doesn’t mean you don’t encounter computers on a daily basis. Radios, modern televisions, video game systems, digital watches, and even your car have all computers in them.
In 1965 Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore wrote a paper of his observations describing a trend that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. Since then his observation, better known as Moore’s Law, has stood the test of time. In 1971 Intel released the world’s first microprocessor, the Intel 4004. Such a feat of integration was made possible by the use of then-new silicon gate technology allowing a higher number of transistors and a faster speed than was possible before The Intel 4004 incorporated...

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