What is a Microprocessor?

The word comes from the combination micro and processor. Processor means a device that processes whatever. In this context processor means a device that processes numbers, specifically binary numbers, 0’s and 1’s. To process means to manipulate. It is a general term that describes all manipulation. Again in this content, it means to perform certain operations on the numbers that depend on the microprocessor’s design.

Micro is a new addition. 

In the late 1960’s, processors were built using discrete elements. These devices performed the required operation, but were too large and too slow.

In the early 1970’s the microchip was invented. All of the components that made up the processor were now placed on a single piece of silicon. The size became several thousand times smaller and the speed became several hundred times faster. The “Micro” Processor was born.

The Definition

The microprocessor is a programmable device that takes in numbers, performs on them arithmetic or logical operations according to the program stored in memory and then produces other numbers as a result.

  • A microprocessor comprises millions of transistors and other electronic components that process instructions.
  • Microprocessor is a versatile chip, that is combined with memory and special purpose chips preprogrammed by a software.

The evolution of microprocessors has been divided into five generations namely first, second, third, fourth and fifth generations, which you can read here.