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The processor is the heart, the central working element, of a computer or other digital information handling system. It is the part that does all of the processing, the actual work of performing arithmetic and logic operations. Everything else in current computers mostly only holds information, as bits. Some technical names for processors: Central Processing Unit (CPU), Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU). Processors can be made in many parts or in one part (monolithic). Older processors were always in many parts, current ones are usually monolithic. There is no one necessary model or configuration for processors. The term's meaning varies with context, mainly by how processors are defined or implemented. Historically, the evolution was as: many cabinets in several rooms, then many cabinets in one room, then many boards in one cabinet, then many chip carriers on one board, then some as a few chips in one chip carrier (package). Key trait: all parts are treated, and work, as one processing unit during some task. Processors that fit fully on one integrated circuit chip are usually called microprocessors, and have parts (features) measured in microns or micrometers (millionths of a meter), or in nanometers (billionths of a meter). The future will bring nanoprocessors, with parts measured in a few nanometers, and made with a technology called nanotechnology. On this page, processors are arranged in three groups and levels: 1) Top: issues spanning multiple unrelated processors. 2) Middle: types or classes of processors. 3) Bottom: specific processor families, with their own directory category.
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IDT: Integrated Device Technology, Inc. - Silicon design company involved in MIPS technologies, and wide range of electronics. WWW Computer Architecture - Houses computer architecture and microprocessor information on conferences, benchmarks and tools, group projects, publications, books and newsgroups. ClearSpeed - Floating point accelerator, coprocessor and data parallel processing for HPC, scientific and embedded computer chips. Programmed easily in C language. MicroDesign Resources - An information services company focused on enabling technology for personal computers and the high-performance microprocessor industry. Our work is aimed at engineers and others who need to understand and select new technologies. Powerleap Products - CPU upgrade expert with product briefs, support, discussion forums and compatibility database. AmberWave Inc. - Makes strained silicon, high-speed, high-transconductance devices optimized to work in digital, analog, or mixed signal systems. Synopsys Synthesizable VHDL LC-2 Model - Simple programmable processor defined in the popular introductory textbook. Central Processing Unit - Growing article, with links to many related topics. [Wikipedia] Computer Architecture - IBM researchers have made seminal contributions to this field. Lists some current work. [IBM Research] CAPS Research Group - Computer Architecture and Power Aware Systems Research Group, Binghamton, State University of New York. Researches means, at microarchitecture, system, and circuit levels, to improve performance, energy-efficiency, and reliability of processors and memory. Prototype Glass Sheet Computer Unveiled - Transparent computer processor was printed on to a flat plate of continuous grain silicon glass by researchers at Sharp Japan laboratory; suggests very thin computers and televisions might be built fully on one sheet of glass. [New Scientist]
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