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Revisiting the 4004: Intel's accidental revolution

The chip package that debuted 35 years ago this week upended whole industries. Take a tour of hardware history. Images: 35 years of Intel chip design

This Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of the public announcement of the 4004, the world's first microprocessor.

A package of three chips, the 4004 could calculate numbers from a program, a task that until then had required larger, bulkier computers. The chip and its successors revolutionized electronics and made Intel a household name around the world, although the company almost lost control of the invention and didn't fully understand its importance for years.

On Monday, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., is hosting a symposium commemorating the 35th anniversary. For the 30th anniversary of the 4004 five years ago, CNET interviewed , Stan Mazor, Andy Grove and others for an in-depth look at the microprocessor's place in history. We're reposting it here, along with other recent retrospectives and looks at coming design changes, in our ongoing effort to document computing history. And check out the 2001 story on the future changes coming to chips--we're proud to say that it predicted the future pretty darn well.

images Here's a look at how Intel chips have evolved--from the 4004 through to the teraflop-ready 80-core prototype of tomorrow.
November 13, 2006

Thirty years after the birth of the microprocessor, billions of the small chips have been built into everything from cars to children's toys.
November 14, 2001

For designers working on the next generation of microprocessors, are the laws of physics making Moore's Law into Moore's Curse?
November 14, 2001

newsmaker Ted Hoff was part of the 4004 team. How does it feel to be a founding father of a multibillion-dollar industry?
November 14, 2001

Emerging technologies could extend the life of the famous principle whose demise has been predicted repeatedly.
April 19, 2005

Sixty years ago, the public got its first look at computers--a glimpse that launched an astonishing industry---and at controversies that linger today.
Photos: Lights, vacuum tubes, action!
February 13, 2006

The story behind the big computer--meet the egos that drove its development and its demise.
February 13, 2006

Hard drives have come a long way since debuting 50 years ago this week. Do they still have room to shrink?

September 11, 2006

Company is experimenting with carbon nanotubes as a possible replacement for copper wires in order to speed connections.
November 10, 2006