Milestone-Proposal talk:Intel 4004 Microprocessor

From IEEE Milestones Wiki

Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Submission and Approval Log

Submitted date:
History Committee approval date:
Board of Directors approval date:

Statements in support of the 4004 Microprocessor Milestone proposal -- Administrator4 (talk) 12:05, 31 August 2020 (UTC)

Brian Berg Fri, Aug 28, 5:29 PM (3 days ago) to me


Included herewith are 4 statements of support for the Intel 4004 Microprocessor Milestone proposal. These are from the entirety of the team that created the 4004 (Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff and Stan Mazor, who are cited and discussed extensively in the proposal), as well as from David Laws, Semiconductor Curator of the Computer History Museum.

Thank you.

Brian Berg Primary composer of the 4004 Milestone proposal Region 6 History Chair Region 6 Milestone Coordinator

From: Federico Faggin <> Date: Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 9:38 PM Subject: Re: 4004 IEEE Milestone: Statement of Support To: Brian Berg <>

Hi Brian,

    Thank you for your careful preparation of the IEEE Milestone proposal. I agree with the veracity of the statements in the 4004 Milestone proposal, and I support its approval as an IEEE Milestone.



From: Marcian Hoff <> Date: Wed, Aug 26, 2020 at 10:01 AM Subject: Re: 4004 Milestone Proposal To: <>

Hello Brian: I agree with the veracity of the statements in the 4004 Milestone proposal and support its approval as an IEEE Milestone. Marcian E. Hoff


From: Stanley Mazor <> Date: Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 3:02 PM Subject: Re: 4004 Milestone Proposal approved stan To: Brian Berg <>

I agree with the veracity of the statements in the 4004 Milestone proposal, and I support its approval as an IEEE Milestone.

stanley mazor, Los Altos, CA 27 August 2020


From: David Laws <> Date: Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 7:33 AM Subject: Re: 4004 Milestone Page To: Brian Berg <>


I agree with the veracity of the statements in the 4004 Milestone proposal, and I support its approval as an IEEE Milestone.

David Laws Semiconductor Curator, Computer History Museum

Comments -- Jbart64 (talk) 16:38, 31 August 2020 (UTC)

To all- I have worked closely with the proposer and the team who compiled this Milestone proposal. I fully support the final proposal as shown, which contains the team's consolidated edits and combined thoughts. The experts include the developers of the 4004 microprocessor. I was also the Milestone Advocate for Moore's Law and have studied this subject previously as part of that Milestone proposal. Based on that work, and also my work on this proposal, I fully support the proposal as it has been finalized and submitted. David Bart Milestone Advocate

Clarification of "improvements" in citation -- John Vardalas (talk) 21:08, 30 September 2020 (UTC)

I support this proposal. However, I feel that the phrase "with cost and performance improvements" is too fuzzy. Are we talking about minor improvements or dramatic improvements.

Re: Clarification of "improvements" in citation -- Amy Bix (talk) 01:13, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

As it stands, the citation is two rather long-ish sentences. I think this will be easier for people to read on a plaque with shorter sentences, and with some rewriting, perhaps as follows:

Built using new silicon-gate MOS technology, the Intel 4004 microprocessor incorporated a 4-bit computer's Central Processing Unit (CPU) onto a single chip. This microprocessor offered cost and performance improvements over existing multi-chip designs. [rewrite this sentence to address John V's question?] While this single-chip design was initially created for calculators, it proved far more versatile, allowing software customization using a general-purpose instruction set. This innovation became industry's model for the microprocessor — a key driver of the digital information age.

Re: Re: Clarification of "improvements" in citation -- Bberg (talk) 17:07, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

Thanks to John Vardalas for his thoughtful comment. The "cost and performance improvements" were indeed dramatic, and they were in fact inherent in the single-chip implementation as made possible by Faggin's "new silicon-gate MOS technology" as stated at the very start of the citation. To sum, re: cost in 1971 (like today), circuit board real estate was a precious commodity, and so a single-chip design by itself reduces PCB size and so reduces cost, and the reduction of chips that must be manufactured also of course reduces cost. Re: performance, a significant reduction in inter-chip communication results from a single-chip design, thus greatly improving performance since more work can be performed on-chip. Further, Faggin's MOS innovations that made the single-chip implementation possible included "a buried contact and other process enhancements," and these resulted in a 5x performance improvement over MOS implementations in the industry. These points are all detailed in my write-up (thanks in large part to help from the 3 inventors, and in particular from Faggin). However, as these points must be succinctly incorporated into the citation, I will tweak the wording so that this is more immediately clear.

Thanks also to Amy Bix for her thoughtful rewording. I note that the word efficiency by way of my 2 sentences kept me comfortably under 70 words, while this suggested new wording resulted in 72 words. Also, replacing "family of calculating machines" with "calculators" incorporates a historical misrepresentation of technology in 1971: "calculator" brings to mind a hand-held device while "calculating machine" likely brings to mind a larger device. Busicom was already well established in the Japanese market with its desktop devices, and they were planning a new family of these into which they wanted to incorporate the ability to use software to adapt a general-purpose processor for the varying markets of such devices. They were thus very forward-thinking at that time, although they did not envision a single-chip design. I do note that I used the word "calculators" in one phrasing in my "historical significance" section, and that may be why you used that word - I have corrected this wording.

The bottom line: I will work on wording that clarifies the point raised by John Vardalas, and will also work out how best to use 3-4 sentences in the citation while maintaining the "family of calculating machines" wording.

Re: Re: Re: Clarification of "improvements" in citation -- Jason.k.hui (talk) 16:48, 4 October 2020 (UTC)

Please update the citation ASAP as the History Committee will be meeting on Wednesday.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Clarification of "improvements" in citation -- Bberg (talk) 02:11, 5 October 2020 (UTC)

Citation has been updated from 2 sentences to 4 sentences. In addition, the new wording better shows how the MOS technology techniques developed by Federico Faggin were key to (1) the cost reduction and performance improvement noted in the citation, and (2) how the 4004 was able to be fabricated in a single chip. The new wording was approved by Federico and Dave Bart.

=Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clarification of "improvements" in citation -- Jbart64 (talk) 02:43, 5 October 2020 (UTC)=

David Bart has reviewed and discussed with the proposer, and I concur with the revisions to the citation.

Noted for History Committee discussion -- Djkemp (talk) 21:46, 2 October 2020 (UTC)