The 4004 was the centerpiece of the 4000 family of integrated circuit
s designed by Intel in 1969
. It represented the first microprocessor
design: a single chip implementation
, and memory management circuit
s on one silicon wafer
The 4000 series was initiated by a Japanese company, Busicom, which planned on building and marketing an all-in-one electronic calculator. Busicom came to INTEL (INTegrated ELectronics), a new company founded by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. Two engineers, Ted Hoff and Stan Mazor, who had been toying with the idea of standardizing ICs for computers into a modular, general purpose series proposed their ideas and were put in charge of the project.
Their designs came across the desk of Fredrico Faggin, another Intel engineer, who organized them into four chips, each with 4-bit I/O for communicating with the other ICs:
Together, these four simple chips formed a complete general purpose computer which could be programmed for any number of tasks.
The success of the 4004 led to the development of an 8-bit series of chips including the 8008 in 1972.