reduced instruction set computer
In the mid-1970s, the microprocessor started to come under scrutiny. While the original complex instruction set computing (CISC) chips had accomplished amazing things, chip designers were asking themselves, "How can we do even more?" In 1974, John Cocke of IBM Research decided to try an approach that dramatically reduced the number of instructions a chip performed. These reduced instruction set processors ended up being not only faster than CISC chips, but easier and less expensive to manufacture, as well. Additionally, the chip's increased speeds made them ideal for everything from multimedia applications to personal digital assistants. Motorola's PowerPC chip, which is commonly used in Macs, is a RISC chip. And even the CISC champion, Intel, has used RISC techniques in 486 and Pentium processors.
See also: microprocessor