A microprocessor (abbreviated as µP or uP) is an electronic computer central processing unit (CPU) made from miniaturized transistors and other circuit elements on a single semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) (aka microchip or just chip).
Before the advent of microprocessors, electronic CPUs were made from discrete (separate) TTL integrated circuits; before that, individual transistors; and before that, from vacuum tubes. There have even been designs for simple computing machines based on mechanical parts such as gears, shafts, levers, Tinkertoys, etc. Leonardo DaVinci made one such design, although none were possible to construct using the manufacturing techniques of the time.
The evolution of microprocessors have been known to follow Moore’s Law when it comes to steadily increasing performance over the years. This suggests that computing power will double every eighteen months, a process that has been generally followed since the early 1970’s — a surprise to everyone involved. From humble beginnings as the drivers for calculators, the continued increase in power has led to the dominance of microprocessors over every other form of computer; every system from the largest mainframes to the smallest handheld computers now use a microprocessor at their core.
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