A central processing unit is the component in a digital computer that
interprets instructions and processes data contained in software. CPUs
provide the fundamental digital computer trait of programmability, and
are one of the core components found in almost all modern
microcomputers, along with primary storage and input/output
facilities. A CPU that is manufactured using integrated circuits,
often just one, is known as a microprocessor. Since the mid-1970s,
single-chip microprocessors have almost totally replaced all other
types of CPUs, and today the term "CPU" almost always applies to some
type of microprocessor. Early CPUs were custom-designed as a part of a
larger, usually one-of-a-kind, computer. However, this costly
methodology of designing custom CPUs for a particular application has
largely given way to the development of inexpensive and standardized
classes of processors that are suited for one or many purposes. This
standardization trend generally began in the era of discrete
transistor mainframes and minicomputers and has rapidly accelerated
with the popularization of the integrated circuit. Modern
microprocessors appear in everything from automobiles to cell phones
to children's toys.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Wars of the Roses in England: Lancastrian King Henry VI was deposed by
his Yorkist cousin, who then became King Edward IV.
King Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for the
Despite having lost in both the electoral and popular votes in the
1824 presidential election, John Quincy Adams was inaugurated as the
sixth President of the United States.
Emile Berliner invented the microphone.
Robert Mugabe (pictured) of the Zimbabwe African National Union was
elected to head the first government in Zimbabwe.
Wikiquote of the day:
There was a young fellow from Trinity, Who took the square root of
infinity. But the number of digits, Gave him the fidgets; He dropped
Math and took up Divinity. -- George Gamow