Synopses & Reviews
Despite being an intimate part of our lives, most of us know almost nothing about the "computer on a chip". As a result, we are constantly making crucial business, political and personal decisions based on the future of the microprocessor, while intellectually standing in the dark. If we can understand how the microprocessor came into being, the state it is in today and where its future lies, we can learn a whole lot more about where we are now and where we are going. Now, for the very first time, Michael S. Malone tells the complete story of this amazing invention in his well-known and witty style. However, this is anything but an electronics textbook. Rather, it is a riveting and incisive adventure story about extraordinary people and the legendary companies they have built. It is a tale of huge success and devastating failure, steadfast partnerships and bitter rivalries - plus a liberal sprinkling of greed and wealth. Malone closes with a tantalising look into the future: emerging technologies, new software, and even speculation about what might lie beyond the microprocessor era.
"Malone's account of the creation and historical development of the microprocessor is the closest account to the truth that I have seen. This book takes full advantage of a good opportunity to tell the story correctly" --Federico Faggin, President Synaptics, Inc. and co-inventor of the microprocessor "The story of the microprocessor, like any life story is filled with ironies. But the greatest is that, despite being the most important invention of our lives, and despite setting the pace for transformation of our world, most of us know almost nothing about it. Most of us know more about nuclear fission than solid-state physics-though, with any luck, we will never experience the former, while we enjoy the later a thousand times a day. As a result, we are making critical business, political and personal decisions about the future while standing in a sort of intellectual darkness. Without most of us being aware of it, we are already racing towards the future along the atomic roadways on the surface of silicone chips. If we can understand how the microprocessor came to be, what is it today and where its future lies, we will learn a lot more about who we are now and where we are going. We owe at least that much to ourselves and to those who will follow us". --from "The Microprocessor-A Biography"
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."