This book is not what it seems. It appears to be about technology, but it is really about people. It looks like a history book, but it is really an adventure story. Even its title is an oxymoron. These ambiguities are intentional, the paradoxes planned. The micro processor is not only a supremely important invention, but also a Rosetta Stone of our culture. To see how a microprocessor is made is to understand our cur rent limits of technology; to understand how it works is to appreciate the present sophistication of engineering; and to know how it is used is to discern the underlying social forces that are transforming our world. Even the events surrounding the microprocessor industry-the new marketing techniques, the litigation, the business partnerships-regularly set precedents that are soon followed by other industries. Thus the microprocessor, more than any other product, decodes and defines modern life. That's why understanding the microprocessor from every perspective is vitally important for all of us. And that is why The Microprocessor: A Biography was not written for a select audience, but for every audience-and especially for the general reader. If, as I believe, the microprocessor will define our lives for at least the next generation, if it has the potential for both great good and great evil, then for our own sake we need to know about the microprocessor in order to maintain control over it.
1 A CALCULATING RISK Inventing the First Microprocessors.- Busicom and Intel.- Hoff Makes his Case.- Faggin Ascendent.- The 4000 Family.- Finding a Market.- The 8080.- Giving Credit.- 2 A REVOLUTION IN MINIATURE The Importance of the Microprocessor.- The Pervasiveness of the Microprocessor.- 3 FIRE, WATER, EARTH AND AIR Fabricating the Microprocessor.- Crystals.- The Blueprint of a Revolution.- The Swinging Gate.- Going Flat.- A World Apart.- Layers of Meaning.- Shedding Light.- Picking the Winners.- Legging it Out.- Final Exam.- 4 THE CITIES OF THE PLANAR How the Microprocessor Works.- Touring the Silicon City.- The Silicon Metronome.- Counting Bits.- Exchanging Notes.- Simple Minds.- Making Sense.- Taking Control.- Getting Help.- Going Green.- Relating to a Noisy World.- A Story of People.- 5 HISTORY I: BEGINNINGS The First Decade.- Making the Cut.- 6 HISTORY II: THE PC ERA The Second Decade.- Abiding by the Law.- Off the Beaten Path.- An Unexpected Threat.- Spinning out Threads.- 7 HISTORY III: BREAK-OUT The Third Decade.- A Forgotten Player Returns.- A Peripheral Revolution.- Blue Chips.- Courting the Microprocessor.- An Inside Game.- Taking Stock.- A Bitter Bug.- Order in the Court.- Towards the Millenium.- 8 THE FUTURE: DREAMS OF LIGHT The Microprocessor in the 21st Century.- Substrate.- Other Substrates.- Production.- Software.- The Burden of the Past.- Green Thoughts.- Architecture.- Organization.- Beyond Semiconductors.- Footnotes.